But for any lover of reading, there are three things that transcend the specific attributes of the device and service:
1. Amazon Whispernet: The embedding of broadband wireless has a backbone of the service makes the Kindle experiment in portable commerce really unique compared to anything we've experienced online before. It's a model that'll likely be emulated by other portable products by a range of third-parties, much in the way the iPhone made multi-touch interfaces a whole new way to do phones and music on the go.
In fact, after browsing, researching and buying dozens of books off the Kindle, and then using the iPhone to buy a music track or two off it's Wifi iTunes store, I couldn't help thinking how a Whispernet type of data network would make a future iPhone/iPod so much more useful.
2. The e-Ink screen: Despite the fact that the screen is not back-lit and doesn't do color, it really nails what it does try to do, which is try and duplicate the experience of reading on paper. The text is crisp and eminently readable for hours. And yes, it'd be nice if it didn't flicker to black at the turn of every page, as the page reset itself to the new page to follow. But it's really amazing how attached one can get to reading off the Kindle.
3. The selection: This is the part of the Kindle experience that makes me the most optimistic that my investment in a couple of Kindles (one for my wife) and dozens of books is going to be worth it in the long=run.
Given that this is an Amazon service, there are over 80,000 titles to choose from vs. 20,000 or so from competing services like the Sony Reader. And one can imagine how the Kindle library can grow pretty quickly from here.
Most of all, one of the coolest parts of the Kindle experience is having a paperback sized gizmo, that lasts for days without a charge, with a growing collection of all the stuff you like to read.
And it's a very different online experience than laptops, PDAs, smartphones, MP3 and video players.
There a lot of ways the Kindle can be improved, and in future posts, I'll add my two-cents on them.
But for now, this is one of the coolest things from Amazon to date.
Recommended for any fan of books.