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Amazon unveils Kindle 2: No UK launch yet

The second generation of the Kindle ebook reader features a number of improvements, including longer battery life and more storage, but no UK release date has been set yet

As was widely expected, Amazon on Monday unveiled the Kindle 2 -- the second generation of its ebook reader -- at a press conference in the Morgan Library and Museum, New York.

Like the first version, the Kindle 2 features wireless downloading of ebooks over mobile-phone networks, but now offers enough storage to save 1,500 entire books, and a complete book download should take less than 60 seconds. No computer is required for browsing, buying or reading.

It's also got a 152mm (6-inch) screen with a 600x800-pixel resolution, weighs 289g, and measures a tiny 9mm thick.

Battery life has been improved as well -- it now lasts for up to two weeks' worth of reading between charges. This is the great thing about the e-ink these readers use: power is only consumed as pages are turned, so, when you're reading, the device uses no power whatsoever, and looks just like real paper, with no glare and no backlight.

The new Kindle also will read your books aloud, should you need it to. And, if you don't have any books, you can always browse the entirety of Wikipedia for free -- all data costs are paid for by Amazon.

At the moment, the Kindle 2 is available in the US only and costs $360 (£240). When contacted about a potential UK release, an Amazon spokesperson told us that "at this time we have no announcement to make".

We'll keep you posted.