The day before Mother's Day, I wanted to get something electronic for my wife. She's used her Kindle sporadically, her Blackberry non-stop, her MacAir faithfully, and her HP PC from Cisco grudgingly, compared to her 27" iMac. She did work for HP for five years, admires the company to this day.
I loved the Sharp Galapagos, esp. the 10" screen, in March in Japan, but it didn't clear the FCC reqments in the US until today, and won't be available for months. So, in reading all the webdata, the Barnes and Noble Color Nook looked like the best bet. She reads every magazine there is, so this would be perfect, I felt.
Staples had a display of both color and B/W Nooks, as well as every Kindle model, the Motorola Xoom, and the Nokia, Samsung, and Sony machines. Android was available for all but the eBooks. I could fondle each machine, try it on National Geographic, Travel and Leisure, and Bon Appetit magazines,and also browse the web.
The Nook sucked, in a word. Poor quality, poor feel. The Xoom was the best, but not overly intuitive.
Four people were in the store, none looking at these 'hot items'. I asked the clerk which were the most popular. She said she'd sold a couple of Xooms. I asked which she preferred. She ducked her head, and whispered, "The iPad, but we don't carry it."
I went to the Apple store at the Stanford Shopping Center. I was the 32nd person in line to get a number to wait for a Specialist, who could take my order. I could fondle (after waiting behind a crowd) one of the twelve iPads on display while I waited. When my Specialist got to me, twenty minutes later, he said they were out of all iPads except the hefty-accesoried model for several hundred extra dollars, but he could sell me a very nifty gift card, and maybe by using the on-line store, she could get one in two or three weeks. Or, he said, she could check back next week.
She loved the gift card. I mentioned the Xoom and the Nook alternatives. She said, "you are kidding, right?"
The following Saturday, we were at the Apple store at 9:55am, they open at 10am. We were the 21st customer in line. No one else seemed to be anywhere in the mall. They told her, try the on-line, it'll be faster.
She got her iPad two weeks later. She loves it. I mentioned the TouchPad this weekend -- she said, "aren't they a little late?"