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image The Kindle 2 didn’t materialize last month.

But how about early Q1 of ’09? That’s the current prediction from TechCrunch’s sources.

What is it about Jeff Bezos and aesthetics? Going by the leaked photo, the new Kindle is to be a longer, thinner version of the current e-reader—in other words, just a variant of the famous adding-machine look.

And speaking more practically, the screen-to-case ratio will be far from optimal, and the text-background contrast doesn’t look so great, either. Maybe that’s because Jeff really sees the Kindle as more of a buying machine than a reading machine and values an improved keyboard more than a larger screen. The better to key in orders for garden hoses someday, not just best-sellers?

The positives

But that’s ok. The TeleBlog’s Paul Biba loves his Kindle, and I know that many others out there do, too, Oprah included. Besides, TechCrunch says a larger-screened student version of the K machine is on the way. And the better keyboard could lead to more interactivity. Now if only Jeff will do ePub. What’s more, he’d do well to heed TechCrunch’s advice and think about licensing out the basic technology, so that other companies can more nimbly exploit it.

Related:  MobileRead discussion, as well as Boy Genius Report and the Silicon Alley Insider, which says the Kindle is sold out through Christmas.

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