I am an early-adopter of the Amazon Kindle and must say that I have been thrilled with it, despite a number of design flaws I hope to see fixed in the new version. Most of my complaints have to do with industrial design, not with the feature set (from an industrial design scale where iPod=10 and the original MS Vista packaging =0, the Kindle and its case were about a 4.)
I was perusing a number of "reviews" of the Kindle 2 today. Pre-release reviews can have a really wide spread, as they tend to be populated either by insiders who are trying to promote the product, or by folks who haven't used the product but have some problem with its basic concept (or manufacturer) they want to vent on. Which makes pre-release reviews worthless.
One such person in the second category is "Bohemian," who seems to want to vent on Kindle because it is not open source, DRM-free, etc. He is also upset that it does not have built-in solar power, lol. But the line that really caught my eye is this one:
Overpriced - should be around $100
That is hilarious to me. The Kindle has been absolutely sold out (at the current price of $300-$400) for months and months. There is a waiting list, particularly since Oprah recommend it. So how is the price too high? My take on it would be the price is too low, since even at $359 demand is exceeding supply.
This is a common mistake by people across the political spectrum -- mistaking one's own personal assessment of value with what a price "should" be. The correct statement for this review would have been "I would not pay more than $100 for this product." And in a free society, he doesn't have to buy it. But obviously there are a lot of people, in fact more people than Amazon can currently satisfy, who think the Kindle is worth at least $359.
By the way, one other note on DRM and proprietary platforms. I am the last one to spend much time defending DRM, but proprietary platforms are totally normal for new technologies. The thing that is often ignored about the Kindle is that ... it just works. You log on, download the books you want, and they are there in seconds and display correctly and reliably. I lost my first Kindle, and when the second one showed up, all my books from my first Kindle where already on my second. No crashes, no need for tech support.
People give Microsoft loads of well-deserved cr*p for problems in its software and for playing too many proprietary tricks, but the real reason PC's can be a pain and can be tech support nightmares is because PC's are not very proprietary -- they are really a wide open platform, and try to integrate a hodge podge of components and software from a variety of sources, and sometimes things inevitably go wrong. People tend to forget that the reason the Mac and the iPod are so compelling in the user-friendliness and stability is that they are proprietary, tightly controlled platforms.
I personally prefer the PC, because I like the flexibility and am not scared off by the occasional integration challenge. Over time, I have realized that I am in the minority. Most people want their electronic devices to freaking work, and don't care if they don't have access to the 100-item micro-configuration menu and probably will never have a desire to transfer the book file on their Kindle to be read on the LCD on their refrigerator.