The Kindle On Guard
Following its release in February, Amazon's Kindle 2 -- the updated version of its original Kindle -- took the e-reading and e-book spaces by storm, thrusting the burgeoning market into the national spotlight. A larger version of the Kindle, the Kindle DX, was unveiled in May (and will reportedly start shipping earlier than expected). And Amazon continues to expand Kindle's reach, recently updating its Kindle app for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch and launching a service for bloggers to sell subscriptions through the device.
If anything, though, Amazon is vulnerable. It's trying to make itself synonymous with e-books, but the competition already has come out in force, from new devices made by obscure e-reading companies to, now, a threat from Google itself.
"Competitors will attack Amazon's market position by launching new features, expanding content beyond books, dominating markets outside the U.S., reducing costs and improving relationships with publishers," wrote Sarah Rotman, a Forrester media and technology analyst, in a research note. "With retailers, mobile operators and device manufacturers all vying for a piece of the e-reader action, publishers should proactively shape their own e-reader opportunity -- or miss their last, best chance to control their own destiny."
Here's a look at what Amazon and Kindle are up against. There are a number of other e-readers, e-reading apps and e-reading concerns out there, but these 10 are the ones to watch most closely as Amazon marshals for a fight.