Amazon came out with an electronic book called the ‘Kindle’. The regular news sources are mixed about this device. For a company the size of Amazon and the business they’re in (selling books, originally) it makes perfect sense. I’m only not sure about that mini-keyboard that comes with it, which gives the initial impression that it is actually a stripped-down computer. Ars has an excellent review of this device. No question about it: this device runs a Linux flavour (I noticed the Java logo in one of the product manuals). This device can currently only be sold and shipped within the US.
Earlier, Sony released their 2nd generation Reader, originally named the PRS-505. Notice that both the Kindle and the PRS seem to use the same screen technology (E Ink). Ars Technica also reviewed this device (last week, actually). You can actually buy this device from Amazon (US$ 299). Both readers allow non-DRM material to be downloaded. However, both readers seem to support (or push) their own DRM-enabled file formats too, as both companies have their devices tie in to their own (online) bookstores. I’m not sure if Sony will make it in this battle for readers (After all, it’s all about the amount of books, I guess and at this stage, it looks like Amazon has the bigger share). The Sony Reader does indeed run Linux and the source code to it can be downloaded right from the Sony site.
As an aside, there’s an article at The Morning News that is hilarious: what happens if you let kids design laptops? Some of these kids-friendly laptops even come with the much-needed ‘Math button’. Imagine that: as a 70s kid, I thought calculators were going to solve all our math problems.