For whatever reason, Amazon's Kindle has never really appealed to me. Though I read a fair amount, and am not opposed to the idea of an e-reader, I've just never had any techno-lust for it. It's not because of the DRM, though I'd rather they didn't have it. It's just that it's not that exciting. It's basically a one-trick pony. No matter how thin they make it, or how many books it can hold, it will only every serve the very limited purposes of reading books and doing some light web browsing. Boring. I can do both of those things on my phone, albeit on less than an ideal screen size, or on my laptop.
Today, Barnes & Noble announced their competitor, the Nook. The Nook is based on Android. Now, people who read this blog know that my opinion of Android is that it's not as good as the iPhone in most respects, both from the point of view of a consumer and from the point of view of a developer. Obviously, that's subjective, but it's my honest opinion of where things stand right now.
However, I see the Nook as possibly a game changer for Android, much more so than the much-touted Verizon Droid, which might be a good phone, but it doesn't strike me as a game changer as much as being a not-totally-horrible-like-the-Voyager ersatz iPhone for people unwilling to switch to AT&T. I'm not quite ready to say it IS a game changer, but it definitely could be. It's a book reader that can be more. It's a tablet device that can be programmed. It's bigger than a phone, but still portable. This device, in my opinion, is every so much more techno-lustworthy than the Kindle. It also raises the bar for Android. Here's a whole new audience of devices that will be able to buy Android apps.
Of course, we'll have to see how it actually performs and how people like it. But assuming it delivers on its promises, then I'd say that Android just pulled out a tiny bit from the pack and its odds are looking better. There's a long ways to go in the race, but this could be a turning point. This could be the thing Android needs to achieve critical mass for their App Store, which is the one thing that they absolutely must have if they're ever going to challenge the iPhone's dominance.
I can't wait to see where this goes from here, and I can't wait for Apple to introduce some kind of new iPhone OS device, whether it's a tablet, or something completely new. I don't have any idea what Apple is going to do, but I'm sure they are not going to stand still.