Make way for Kindle 2: Today Amazon unveiled an updated version of their electronic reading machine (to be released Feb. 24), which is being hailed as a faster, slimmer, and longer-lasting rendering of the original. Now, I’ve never been a fan of the Kindle (call me old-fashioned, but I’d prefer not to look at a computer screen 24 hours a day), but there did seem to be some potential in one of Kindle 2’s new features: “Read-to-Me,” a text-to-speech conversion option that allows you listen to your downloaded books if you’re too lazy to flip your own pages, or if you’ve burned out your eyes after watching last week’s I Love Money 2 premiere.
There are, however, two downsides to the new feature (which, admittedly, does seem outdated, since audiobooks are so easily downloadable on iTunes): 1) I have a feeling I’ll grow tired of “Read-To-Me” once I’m inevitably forced to hear Eat, Pray, Love for the zillionth time on the subway, and 2) The feature only offers the option of listening to “male or female voices.” In my opinion, Amazon could have made this feature even cooler: Instead of offering only unspecified voices for “Read-To-Me,” why not recruit celebs or authors to tell the tales? Who wouldn’t want to hear James Earl Jones read a rich, classic saga? Or Antonio Banderes purr through a steamy romance novel? Or Emma Thompson deliver a Jane Austen tale or two?
Still, PopWatchers, how many of you plan to dish out $359 for the Kindle 2? And in an ideal world, what celebrity would you like to have read to you?