I'm not convinced Amazon has a long-term commitment to the Kindle hardware business. In fact, I'll go so out on a limb and predict that Amazon will completely exit the Kindle hardware space within the next 3 years.Huh. While I'm certain similar thoughts have been expressed before, this is the first time I've come across anyone who thinks that Amazon will entirely exit the eReader arena (and gives a timetable too! Hmm...). The post is quite interesting, raising a number of quite relevant issues and offering places where competitors seem to win, mentioning the not-yet-available B&N Nook as a primary example and Apple's mythical "Tablet" (does this thing even have substantial rumors to suggest it will exist?) as another possibility.
[...] I had high hopes back in November of 2007 but Amazon is clearly hedging their hardware bet by offering the Kindle iPhone app as well as the Kindle for PC (beta) and Kindle for Mac (forthcoming) apps. That's a smart move by Amazon. If my prediction comes true and they abandon the hardware space in the next three years they'll still be a major e-content player.
I'm not sure there's a way to summarize Wikert's point so I recommend reading the whole post. What I find curious is that Wikert seems to focus so much on the Kindle's hardware issues rather than problems relating to its convenience (or lack thereof). The closed format is mentioned, but in reference to external applications (all suggestions here seem to mimic the iPhone... huh), not so much reader ease. And there's the assumption that Amazon's "e-content" is attractive. I'm not even going to approach that topic...
Also important is Wikert's claim that certain competitors are surpassing Amazon. Here the Nook seriously comes into play, except that on this count I have to shake my head and disagree. Sure, maybe the Kindle should have tried to be more like the Nook (or is it the other way around?), except we don't know anything about the Nook. Yes, aspects to it sound attractive, but it's a new product that hasn't been field tested yet and seems to be lacking here and there (like all current eReaders on the market...). I fail to understand Wikert's desire to have the Nook truly be "what the Kindle should have been", nor his belief in that statement. Still, it's an interesting look at the matter. Wikert is right in several places, including the mildly hinted idea that we should expect to see some strange and seemingly bizarre things in the future of eReaders and the currently mind-blowing concept that perhaps the Kindle isn't quite the king we assume it to be.