Connectivity to the network included in the purchase price of the Kindle. This is the most revolutionary part of the Kindle. It’s a product, a hunk of plastic and electronics that comes in a box with a recharger. The price is a little high for an e-reader, the special sauce is the built in complimentary network connectivity. There’s no meter running.
It’s EVDO, Amazon calls it WhisperNet– but it doesn’t really matter what the technology is or what it’s called. The consumer doesn’t need to think about it. It’s what enables shopping for books and periodicals, and what allows delivery. It will only be noticeable when it’s slow or not working.
I’m not sure how the economics of this work, but if the cost of the network is built in to the cost of the reader and the purchased content, the issue of the price of the network disappears. And with that, a big usability problem and a big uptake issue goes away. The network is assumed. With some mass production, economies of scale and a little time we may get the price down to what a DVD player costs.