Informed opinion on the Kindles
I realise actually posting informed comments on the Kindle puts me in the minority but here goes:
1. The Kindle uses an e-ink display.
This is very different from lcd and led displays (as used on laptops). Its major features are that it draws no power when displaying an image (it only draws power when changing the display contents) and that it is reflective, in other words it's like paper and relies of reflecting ambient light which means it works as well as paper in bright sunlight. The down side to e-ink is that it is slow: you wouldn't want to play Quake using an e-ink display nor would you want to rely on any interactive elements like a drop down keyboard (which would also require the dispaly to be touch sensitive).
2. There are around 250,000 books you can buy from Amazon to read. This is by far the greatest number available on any ebook reader and was the #1 selling point for me.
3. The battery lasts for about 10 days *use*. That's not 10 days in stand-by, 10 days sitting in your sock draw. That's 10 days constant use. I took my Kindle with me to Japan and at the end of 16 days, which included reading it for 10 hours on the flight (each way), several hours each evening, and for the many train journeys I made, the battery was still more than half full.
In contrast, my iPhone (with phone turned off), reading books using the Kindle app lasts about 12 hours. Fast, colour, high-res displays gobble battery power.
4. The Kindle fits inside my jacket pocket. Comfortably *because it is thin*. It's easier to stow than the average paper-back.
5. I currently have around 70 books on there, from fiction through to technical reference manuals. Really convenient. And saves a ton on checked luggage when flying (I used to take about half my luggage allowance as books...)
The only downsides I've found are:
1. PDF conversion is awful. But this is really PDF's fault because it's a fixed layout. On the plus side, Amazon will convert your PDFs for free.
2. DRM. Doesn't really bother me with Amazon's books (and in any case stripping it is only a couple of Perl scripts away), but DRM on other e-books (eg Mobi) means I can't read them on the Kindle.
3. Even with a library of 250,000 books in Kindle format that still means there are millions that aren't. Some new releases (populist trash novels, Obama biographys, that kind of crap) seem to appear immediately in Kindle format: the good stuff takes a little longer.
4. Most books are cheaper in Kindle format than print. Some however, for example Andrew Tanenbaum's "Computer Networks" costs about $20 in print and about $70 in Kindle format! I blame Tanenbaum for that though, not Amazon.
I'm feeling very lonely now, an island of informed opinion in a sea of unintelligent whinging so I'll get my coat.