Not everyone wants a "does-everything-solution"; despite the iPad's popularity, many prefer having a dedicated device as a lecture and reading companion. Here are some options that you may end loving and the reasons they might be a better choice than that device about to updated to 2.0. Some of them even have the option of a browser, email, a color screen, and 3G or WiFi capabilities for more cable-free mobility.
You've likely already heard of or even use/own of the tablets below. But here's a leftfield option from Spring Design, Inc. The Alex eReader. Like the Nook, the Alex offers a dual screen layout, the larger being a 6" 800x600 display, and the secondary 3.5" display below offering a 480x320 touch capacitive touchscreen (the top is an electronic paper display, the touch area is a LCD). This is an Android OS based tablet, so users can browse online, watch videos (yes, it does Flash too), listen to music and tap into Google Android community's offerings designed specifically for the Alex. The more narrow form factor will appeal to some who want a backpack ready device that can tap into wi-fi networks while on the go. Looks like the Alex is popular because the device is currently sold out on the site.
Sony Reader Touch PRS 650
With a capacity for up to 1200 books (before you add your own memory), and access to multiple book stores or your own files, the Sony Reader Touch Edition is the perfect way to bring your library with you... wherever you go. With a light, thin body and super lightweight, it's a dream to carry around. We love the E Ink, high contrast display, thats easier on the eyes than a harsh LCD display, and easier to see in sunlight.
This is the easiest option because there is no wireless setup—you are ready to shop, purchase, and read right out of the box. Built-in Free 3G connectivity uses the same wireless signals that cell phones use, but there are no monthly fees or commitments—Amazon pays for Kindle’s 3G wireless connectivity. The added convenience of 3G enables you to download books anytime, anywhere, while on the go—without having to find a Wi-Fi hotspot connection. With wireless coverage in over 100 countries and territories, Kindle 3G remains the strongest dedicated e-Reader device if you're mostly concerned about a reading experience.
This color e-book reader with a vibrant 7" touch screen is second to Amazon's, but just barely, offering fast screen performance, built-in Wi-F, access to the Barnes & Noble Nookbook store, 8GB onboard memory, plus microSD expansion slot. The built-in web browser works well and the Nook supports PDF, Word, and ePub files, displaying most images and some video formats. There's also support for audio and MP3 playback. Eight hours battery life for reading is a little disappointing when compared to other e-ink readers; no access to Android Marketplace or similar app store), so you're limited to what B&N releases. More apps should have been available soon. Note, like Cupertino's designs, the battery isn't user-replaceable.