Kindle in danger of becoming ebooks' Betamax
Amazon's competitors, after fumbling about like the Washington Nationals for the past couple of years, are starting to get their act together. They're moving toward a shared e-book format, called ePub, that's different from the one on the Kindle.
And Allen Weiner, an expert in the e-book business at technology consultancy Gartner, Inc., says he knows that other manufacturers are poised to launch new reading devices with Kindle-style 3G wireless connections. Some may be announced as early as the next few weeks, he says.
It's been a busy summer for Amazon's competitors.
Last week, Sony announced two new e-book readers, including one for $199. A third, with a wireless connection, is thought to be coming.
Barnes & Noble recently has waded back into the e-book business, after a six-year absence, by acquiring online seller Fictionwise. It is likely to partner with other e-book readers to compete with Amazon.
Oh, yes, and a little-known company called Apple, Inc.,(AAPL) is rumored to be readying a handheld tablet that would also be an e-book reader.