Amazon's Kindle Gets A Second Edition The online retailer launched a revamped version of its e-book device at a New York event today. Analysts say the first version has sold between 375,000 and 500,000 units, becoming "the iPod of the book world."

Amazon's Kindle Gets A Second Edition

Amazon has unveiled a new version of Kindle, the online retailer's electronic reading device. At a New York City press event Monday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos displayed a digital reader that's sleeker, a tiny bit lighter and with seven times as much memory as the original version Amazon launched at the end of 2007.

The Kindle 2, as it's called, also has a new experimental "read to me" function, though the synthesized voice sounds robotic.

In the future, the device is slated to sync with a range of mobile devices, including cell phones. In an interview with NPR, though, Bezos gave no hint as to when that might be, saying only "You'll have to stay tuned."

Nor did the CEO provide details about how many Kindles have been sold. The company has repeatedly spoken of strong demand for the product, but Bezos has remained coy about specifics.

Asked why the secrecy, Bezos replied that the company had "a long-standing practice of not providing that kind of information."

"So I guess the answer to your question is tradition, mostly," he said.

Kindle 2008 sales estimates from Wall Street analysts and the Consumer Electronics Association range from about 375,000 to 500,000 units sold.

Mark Mahaney, an analyst who follows technology companies for Citigroup, wrote in a recent research note that the Kindle had become "the iPod of the book world," noting that sales of 500,000 units would put the Kindle ahead of the number of iPods sold in that device's first year.

But many analysts cite the Kindle's $359 price tag as limiting the device's appeal to a niche market of mobile professionals who love to read.

Still, supporters of digital books think the market could be huge, as books, like music and movies, go increasingly digital.

Amazon, of course, is hardly the only company interested in e-books. Sony has a digital book reader. And Google has scanned in roughly 7 million books to its online digital library, and has struck agreements with authors and publishers to share proceeds from online sales of those works.

Google recently said it would soon begin selling those books for reading on mobile devices. But Bezos didn't sound worried.

At Monday's news conference, he said, "We have tens of millions of customers who buy books from us every day, and we know what they want to read."