A few of the big gadget blogs have posted their reviews of Barnes & Noble's new Nook e-reader, and it's sounded like the delay in shipping may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for potential early adopters who decided to wait for units to be in-stock before ordering. The Nook sounds like it needs a couple of firmware revisions before it really starts to shine. Engadget, Gizmodo and Slashgear all have reviews up. Engadget's review was the harshest and most honest: both Slashgear and Gizmodo seem willing to cut Barnes & Noble some slack and give them the benefit of the doubt that they'll fix some of the problems with over-the-air updates. While that may be the case, I prefer a review to cover the product I'm about to buy, not some imaginary product that may come to be in a few months after software gets patched. I'll embed the video portion of Engadget's below; it really emphasizes the issue with laggy screen updating.
If you still want to order a Nook, the latest word is that orders placed now will ship on January 15th, and it sounds unlikely that you'll be able to walk into a brick & mortar Barnes & Noble and buy a Nook in time for Christmas.
If you're more interested in reading newspapers and magazines rather than books, you might want to wait for a Skiff device. What's Skiff? Remember way back last February when there was a rumor that publishing giant Hearst was going to produce an e-reader of its own? That plan seems to be coming to fruition in the form of spin-off company Skiff LLC, which is bringing an e-format publishing program to market. Skiff will operate on existing hardware such as netbooks and iPhones, as well as integrating with some upcoming hardware, though details are still very sketchy. From the press release: "Skiff is working with major consumer electronics manufacturers to integrate Skiff’s service, digital store and specialized client software into a range of innovative devices, the first of which will be unveiled soon." Sprint is on tap to provide 3G connectivity for anywhere, anytime purchasing of magazines and newspapers, complete with ads. Yes, I know we all hate ads, but ads mean lower subscriptions/single issue prices. Skiff is due to launch sometime in 2010.
Engadget's video review of the Nook: