So the initial wave of opinions are in and it seems to be about an 80:20 split between folks who who don't think it's worth the effort and those who think it's worthy of the hype*. Some of the preliminary info in the Newsweek article was a bit off - it has a user replaceable battery, data can be backed up / copied via a PC or Mac, it's browser is not all that great, the screen is good but not "just like a book" but overall it seems that it is pretty much what I thought it was.
Almost nobody has commented on the fact that the choice of EV-DO means this is restricted to major population centers in the US. I still can't get my head around that but what's even more insane are the per transaction costs. You can send documents to your Kindle via e-mail but (and here's the doozy) _you_ get charged 10cent for each inbound mail. Just wait until the spamheads figure out how to use that. The subscription fees for Blogs are stupid but I suppose I see where Bezos is coming from - he can't cover the cost of the cellular connection otherwise and basically he needs to get people back into thinking it's "OK" to pay for pushed content. I sympathize with the economic dilemma but frankly I think he spent far too much time with the cellular telcos and they put the poison in his head that it was "OK" to charge for data at a rate of a dollar or two per meg. These are the people who still think that since SMS is generally charged at around 5-10cent for 200 bytes that all data should be priced that way.
Of all of the commentary I've come across Mark Pilgrim really nailed it for me.
Props to the lads at Motley Fool for pointing out the head-scratchingly-obvious-in-hindsight point that naming a book replacing device "Kindle" brings disturbing imagery of book burning to mind - perhaps they should have gone hog mad and called it the "Pyre".
Finally Derek should have a Sony PRS-505 Reader sometime this week so if he's really nice and lets me get my greasy mits on it I may have more to say on the e-Book topic and the merits of a well built reader.
* I had a link in to a very favourable article from Business Week there but it started to hit me with a "Malware Alert" pop-up spamvert so I took it out. I can't believe that a relatively large organisation like that can still get duped into running such crap. Oh well, you can find the article on Google's cache if you really want to read it.