Yesterday, Amazon announced the follow-up to its revolutionary reading device: Amazon Kindle 2.0. As I mentioned in my recent post about the Kindle, the new version is improved in several different ways.
They improved the design, making it much more pleasing to the eye. It’s very thin, reminiscent of Apple’s laptop in the office envelope campaign. It supports 16 shades of gray, as opposed to four in the original version. It also has brand-new functionality called text-to-speech. This makes it possible for the Kindle to actually read to you, although the voice is a bit monotonic.
The interesting thing about the Kindle 2.0 is that it demostrates clear steps toward a more powerful and useful device, compared to the original Kindle. These steps seem rather small and incremental, but it’s these small steps that are the key to creating a device that is incredibly useful and improves our lives.
Another interesting thing about the Kindle is that Amazon is making a point of supporting its existing customers. Right now, the product is not yet shipping, but Amazon is accepting pre-orders. All Kindle 1.0 owners who order today receive the first Kindle 2’s that Amazon ships.
This is an example of Amazon’s long-term thinking. Amazon is concerned with creating a strong customer base that is loyal. And, in the process, they’re creating raving fan customers, which has been a key success strategy for Apple’s computers and the iPod.
While the Kindle is a wonderful example of technological innovation, it is also interesting to see how the company creates value for the customer and how it grows its business. That’s smart, because Amazon is competing on price (although not with Kindle), and that is a dangerous game to play, especially on the Internet.