The future of e-book readers
I'm not a psychic, but after decades of experience in computers and electronics, I can forecast this:
1) e-readers will not remain single-purpose devices.
2) tablet computers and e-readers will move toward each other functionally.
3) this will drive the tablet/e-reader to become more 'open'.
4) they will have to standardize on an OS, programming interfaces, etc.
Currently, I believe, most e-readers use a variety of Linux for their OS. I think there's a fair window of time where 1, 2 or 3 major e-reader manufacturers could band together (or go solo if they're big enough) and create an 'open' device, with an SDK (Software Development Kit), standardize on one family of CPUs (for binary compatibility) and invite the programmers of the world to expand, enhance and drive the success of tablet-PC/e-readers.
It WILL happen... but if it doesn't happen BEFORE the devices become successful enough to attract the likes of Microsoft, then the window will close. But the company(s) that first open up their devices in this way will definitely have a large "window of opportunity" over all other e-book manufacturers.
(Yes, advances will have to be made in all areas from battery to CPU to display, but those advances WILL happen... the question is: when we get there, will those devices be running Linux, Windows or something else???)