Christmas Comes Early for the Amazon Kindle

The same day Amazon announced the best sales month ever for its e-reader Kindle, Michael Arrington, editor of the tech blog TechCrunch, announced "the end of the CrunchPad," a computer tablet/e-reader hybrid device he helped develop. It's not entirely clear that the CrunchPad is dead, since Arrington says he plans on suing the co-developers for showing him the stiff-arm even as they try to bring the product to market. But at least one thing is clear. The market for e-readers is booming and growing ... and the Amazon Kindle remains posed to win big this holiday season.

That's also because the Barnes & Noble Nook, the e-reader that's received perhaps the industry's most glowing reviews, is struggling to match supply to demand, and Sony's devices are already in short supply. That leaves the stockings wide open for Kindle. That's a big deal, especially since analysts are predicting that December could move as many as 1,000,000 e-readers -- a third of all e-reader purchases this year.

In the long run, however, Amazon has stiff competition. If the Apple Tablet ever gets off the ground, it's likely that Steve Jobs will produce something that blurs the already-thin line between computer and e-reader. The B&N Nook is already receiving reviews that have some over-excited bloggers spouting phrases like "Kindle-killer." And even if the CrunchPad now resides in TechCrunch's "dead pool" graveyard of techie ideas, the ongoing interest in a tablet computer device only demonstrates how variable the technology for e-readers has become and how exciting the arms race will become in the next year.