Amazon Kindle 2 – making a great gadget even better

It’s no secret that I love the Amazon Kindle – the electronic book reader made our top 25 lineup of best travel gadgets for 2008, and despite several minor shortcomings, most readers picked it as their favorite gadget as well.

The Kindle has been a massive success – and ever since it was released, it’s been fairly hard to get, with shipping often taking about a month.

That is probably not going to improve any time soon, as Amazon just announced the new Kindle 2 – thinner, smarter design, and a host of other new features make this $359 device a clear winner.

In fact, I’d say the new design is so good, that we’ll see the “iPhone effect” where many original Kindle owners upgrade to the new version.

The device has a better e-ink display, capable of displaying 16 shades of gray, a faster refresh of the screen, and the ability to convert text to speech for the new “read to me” feature. But best of all, they updated the page turning buttons, which were always a massive annoyance.

Needless to say, the new Kindle is probably going to be just as successful as the old one, and should help keep Amazon on top of the ebook market.