Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Sony Reader and other EInk Runners

It appears to be the worst kept secret that Sony is about to launch next month a new ereader, some say two. We have seen the signs coming with they lowering of the price of their existing readers through ‘special deals’ and the fact that their current offer looks as exciting as an old desktop PC in the tablet mobile world.

So what do we expect and will it make a difference and reverse what is clearly an also ran offer? Lighter, improved page turns and contrast, increase memory and maybe free 3G! We think its too early to see what their Android position is following their recent recruitment campaign.

The challenge for Sony is breaking into the big league and getting wide adoption as a viable alternative to Amazon, Apple and Google. BBeb is certainly past its sell by date and the Sony store is bereft of content and looks unappealing. Price could be a trump card given they have the corporate backing but tin alone isn’t the answer and they have failed so far to build a real content base and attraction. The devices as they stand aren’t going to hack it in the educational market. Some would suggest that Sony’s biggest problem is that it has an inbuilt corporate aversion to risk.

Expect it next month.

Notion Ink
On the other hand we wait with some interest for Notion Ink’s Adam tablet with its dual eInk-and-LCD display. The latest news is not good on the price which is reported to be $498 but its dual-mode display, with Wi-Fi, GPS, optional 3G, a camera that rotates 185 degrees, and its own app store sound interesting. It is expected to ship later this year, but will that be too late, or just right and will it have the mass appeal to make its mark in a crowded market.

There is still much interest in the technology promised by mirsol which uses display technology that provides colour e-ink outside the WINK Corporation. The technology is called interferometric modulator display and similar to LCD uses RGB subpixels to generate colours. However it requires far less energy and is reflective, allowing for superior sunlight visibility whilst giving long availability and with refresh rates that are fast enough for video.

Meanwhile down under Kogan Technologies has launched a 6-inch eBook ‘lookie likie’ reader into the Australian market at a price of just AUD$189. It has all the usual eInk features and wedge of give away public domain books that sit on the virtual unread shelf and is compatible with Adobe ACS4 DRM. We struggled to remember which reader it looked like but that hardly surprising with logos transferring faster than premiership footballers swop shirts and clubs!

China looks to the West with the release of its first eReader, the Huawei T62W. Yet another lookie like eInk reader with a 6″ touch screen, WiFi, 3G connectivity, Bluetooth, and a microSDHC slot.


Eric Lozauskas said...

Not sure if you noticed, but recently there has been a price drop on the Barnes and Noble nook device as well as the kindle (which seem to be the big two in battle right now). With Wifi versions starting at a mere $139 I think the whole market for eReader devices may start booming. I do agree with you that the $99 price point will be the true incentive for everyone. I just wish that my ePub books worked on other devices that "support" ePub. *sigh*

Martyn Daniels said...

As we have said epub is not epub is not epub. On top of which everyone wants to play DRM close shops. So you have Apple's iBookstore -closed. Amazon - closed and although many play Adobe DRM epub is not epub is not epub. Shame really.

Re $99 price point its a given that it must happen but the majority of these guys make little money on the transaction /content so once sale done that's it.

Personally if i were Amazon i would give them away on a book subscription (which would include physical, audio and ebooks and create a new club with no book of the month!) That would give a death blow to all but the likes of B&N as no one else could really match it and the close the net even tighter.