"I'm also conscious of the fact that I'm voting with my dollars. This market is young enough (there are so few of us still) that one person's platform choice can help make a difference on the direction the industry takes. On that end, the Cybook seems to have less "baggage" than the Sony. However, I'm not convinced that buying Mobipocket is sending the right message."
That's why I'm only considering the hanlin and cybook (or would consider the iliad but I don't like it very much). I don't want to support a company pushing a one-format-to-one device model. Besides, you know that in the end, a company that does push such a model will burn you. It's happened over and over again.
I also don't want to support a company that shits on / ignores the rest of the world. I'm sick of software that won't display foreign character sets, etc, or does things like when apple bricked the iPhone. I can't be bothered with such hassles.
Remember that mobipocket is what the kindle uses... kindle just changes some encryption code to make it incompatible, but technically speaking it can't be THAT bad, maybe just old books sold in that format were formatted poorly, it can't be that the format is inherently incapable of proper formatting.
Mobipocket might not be perfect technically or otherwise, and I'm weary of it now that amazon bought them and split the DRM model into two formats, but at least on the still-mobipocket side it's still multi-platform. Philosophically what are you buying into when you buy into the mobipocket system, and how might that affect you in the long term?
If someone new comes out with another mobi-like multi-platform DRM system, clients might be added to devices like the hanlin and cybook. Companies peddling things like the kindle and sony 505 have no motivation to permit a client to any competing DRM format, to formats that take away from their own content sales. If anything they'd make a new device that supported the multiformat, but keep their kindle or 505 purchasers locked into the single format... and thus leave you stranded.
You're hoping for adobe DE in your 505? Why would sony follow through with that? Content is a good revenue stream, and the more devices they sell the less likely they will be to give customers an exit strategy. If sales are terrible, then they might consider it to boost sales, but only when they get the message the closed DRM is not OK would they even consider adding DE support. Right now I don't think that "not OK" message is out there.
I'd be quite surprised if Sony added DE support before companies like bookeen/cybook and jinke/hanlin. The later have no proprietary content format to defend, it's only an issue of negotiating with adobe and writing the code. Sony has to wait for sales to slump before they'd consider writing the code. If Sony was willing to offer alternatives, they'd already be offering mobipocket support. They obviously have the resources to write a mobipocket or DE client if they wanted to.
I'm thinking if you're going to make a decision, it will have to come by ordering a hanlin v3 or cybook gen3 immediately though. I can't imagine you having the sony 505 in front of you and not opening it. I'd be impressed if you had that kind of willpower though.