If you want details, I suggest checking out (my former employer) Wired's Gadget Lab take. The question on many blogger's mind is, will it take on and if it does will it save newspapers? I think in the hands of a newspaper organization savvy enough and if the Kindle, like iPods and iPhones, get popular enough to where almost everyone has one, it is quite possible it can.
I like reading GigaOm a lot, but I think his article under the headline "Why The Kindle HD Can't Save Newspapers" fails to deliver on its promise. His strongest argument:
Comparisons are being made to the iPod, which came at a desperate time for the music industry. But while after eight years, the iPod is a megabillion-dollar business, the music industry is still in the toilet, with digital sales failing to grow fast enough to cover the drop in sales of physical CDs.
He's right in comparing the Kindle to the iPod. But I think he's confusing mp3s and the iPod like he's confusing newspapers and the Kindle. We can all agree the solution to the newspaper's problem isn't the ink it's written with or even the content in many cases. It is the fact that newspaper organization's chosen method of delivery is woefully obsolete and the content is now competing with free.
Because of those issues, its revenue source, advertising, has moved on with its readers to a fully functioning, versatile, useful, trackable and generally more accessible internet. It just so happens its competition, the "free" package, is on a much more advanced syndication engine: the internet. I should say advertising budgets are moving, albeit very slowly, and the transition has just begun. I should also say that advertising online is amazingly cheap compared to its newspaper equivalents, but I imagine that will change over time.
This is a nutshell version of Om's argument: The Kindle, Google, and the internet is a technological solution to an outdated business model; It won't save newspapers any more than changing the font would. Superficially, he's correct. Printing a newspaper or magazine on high quality paper will never possibly solve the medium's competition and business problems.
However, it would be a mistake to shrug it off completely. How these delivery methods can save newspapers is a more relevant discussion -- one that makes much more sense in the context of how new media can help save the news, rather than how technology won't. For instance, the Kindle is equipping itself with the very tools that could help newspapers be more successful in this new highly competitive internet-enabled playing field.
The primary way it can help is by providing a reasonable utility to allow news businesses to charge for content. This is a far more challenging problem than it sounds (look up the history of micropayments on the internet). But we're entering a world where news has to compete with free. Ad revenue goes to where the readers are, and readers are going to free content. To be competitive, newspapers will have to make their quality content worth it.
The Kindle is meeting the competition by providing a package that makes it possible to get news seconds after it happens and from any source (it is packaged with a minimal web browser). It is beating other delivery methods such as the computer or mobile phone by making the battery life longer, the screen bigger, the content source of higher quality, giving out free internet access and making it possible to read in the sunlight. So when bloggers claim the Kindle is newspapers' (or a news provider's) best chance, I tend to agree. When professors start requiring students having a Kindle to get textbooks and readers online, it solves issues of access years down the line (a bold and smart move by Amazon, that).
New media and the Kindle (when it gets cheaper) CAN save news agencies, but in all likelihood, by the way these businesses are operating so far, it won't. It may take years for the Kindle to get cheap enough to bundle them with newspaper subscriptions, or ubiquitous enough to maintain an editorial budget. It could take years to make this a reality. I don't see newspapers and magazines surviving long enough to make this happen. I don't mean to be so pessimistic, but the more I see the businesses behind newspapers cut off their online divisions to save their print publications, well, it just doesn't look good.
However, news in a healthy democratic nation will always be in demand. Thanks to the success of bloggers, it looks like it will always be in supply too. The challenge for newspapers, is getting to a point where they are willing to try a new business model and bet the bank on something like the Kindle or online editions. Graciously, I offer Om a more accurate way to put it: the Kindle may not save the newspaper, but it can't hurt.