The number of announcements in the e-reader area confirms, should that be necessary, that the race is now on between all major electronics manufacturers.
More than 2,500 technology companies introduced over 20,000 new products at the 2010 International CES that ended Sunday. Among advancements in 3D technology, mobile DTV, tablets, netbooks, connected TVs, embedded internet technologies and green technology, the number of announcements in the e-reader area confirms, should that be necessary, that the race is now on between all major electronics manufacturers.
For the news publishing industry, the most eagerly awaited news was on the Skiff Reader and the Que proReader from Plastic Logic, which we have already covered in a previous post.
We have here tried to compile a list of all the e-reader launches from CES Las Vegas that should be interesting to follow in the future.
While writing this list, we’ve noted some interesting details.
- One is the emergence of the E Ink competitor, SiPix, chosen by two well-known e-reader specialists, Bookeen and Jinke. We will certainly come back on this in a future post.
- Secondly, there is the temptation to offer communication on the devices, a growing trend it seems. One example is the Copia e-reader from DMC Worldwide, where the manufacturers have not been able to resist offering readers the possibility to connect to their Twitter and Facebook accounts on the device.
- Finally, it’s interesting to see that, even in this very new market, segmentation is already happening and some offers are surprisingly “vertical”, e g the Que proReader targetted at the business market.
Audiovox launches an e-reader with content exclusively from Barnes & Noble
Audiovox Corporation announced that it has entered the e-reader market with a new line to be sold under the RCA brand. The product launch will be supported by e-content delivered through Barnes & Noble.
The Audiovox e-reader will be called Lexi and it has a six-inch E Ink display with 800 x 600 pixels of resolution, 16-level gray scale, 2GB of storage and a rechargeable battery that delivers 7,000 page turns. Lexi also features ezTurn functionality for either left or right handed page turning and has Auto-Magic content synchronization, which simplifies the loading of the device and eliminates the need to drag and drop files.
RCA's Lexi will ship preloaded with Barnes & Nobles Desktop Reader Windows/MAC software for reading, purchasing and managing content and it will also contain Adobe Reader Mobile technology, making it interoperable and fully compatible with PDF and ePub formats. The product is expected to hit retailers in May 2010 and has an anticipated retail price of $229.99
Bookeen debuts Orizon, a touchscreen device and a SiPix screen
French e-reading commentator website eBouquin provides more infos on this new device: “The latest arrival on the scene is ORIZON, an e-reader equipped with a six-inch touchscreen, wireless WiFi connection and Bluetooth. With its compact size (12.25×18.5) and amazingly slim design (barely 0.75cm), ORIZON fits easily into a bag. At first glance, the device closely resembles the Sony Reader PRS-600. However, it has several features that could shake up the scene and that make ORIZON a more accomplished product. First and foremost, the touchscreen is not an e-Ink but rather electronic paper manufactured by SiPix. Fitted with a unique touch technology, called In-Cell Touch, it is possible to retain the display quality of electronic paper (167 dpi resolution and 16 grey levels) while permitting navigation by finger (and eye) in the user's e-books library in ePub or PDF, stored in the 2Go internal memory."
-See also on the Bookeen Orizon
-Watch the video recorded at CES
DMC Worldwide Introduces Suite of Copia e-readers
DMC Worldwide (DMCWW) introduced its suite of Copia (www.thecopia.com) e-readers and related accessories. The e-readers, branded Ocean and Tidal, are wireless reading devices that enable users to connect with the Copia community to purchase digital content including books, newspapers and magazines. The suite includes both monochrome e-paper-based touchscreens and panels with wifi or 3G wireless connectivity. Each device is designed to benefit from Copia, a device-agnostic platform that DMC Worldwide unveiled. The Copia platform should support other companies' hardware with its ePub distribution service. The Copia e-readers will be available for purchase online in April 2010 and at retail outlets by June 2010, with prices ranging from $199 to $299. TheCopia.com will begin its private, limited-invitation beta in January 2010. The public beta will launch in March 2010.
Hanvon Debuts New Products for US Market
Hanvon's WISEreader e-readers will be available in five, six, eight and 9.7 inch displays, and come in a wide range of categories. Hanvon's own electromagnetic touch tablet technology allows users to make annotations directly on the e-book page and save them on the device. The WISEreader also includes integrated wireless technology (Wifi and EDGE/GSM), allowing users to download e-books without having to connect to a PC.
The six, eight and 9.7 inch models will make their international debut in the US in 2010, providing consumers with mobility, and the reading comfort of a larger screen.
Hanvon also announced they are partnering with E Ink Corporation, a subsidiary of Prime View International (PVI), to become the first company to design a colour e-reader based on E Ink's Vizplex technology. The colour e-book is slated to go into production at the end of 2010. “Hanvon is the leader in the e-book reader market in China with 95% of the market share, shipping close to 100,000 units in December 2009, ten times more than the previous year. Hanvon has become the world's second largest e-reader manufacturer” claims the company.
Interead expands the COOL-ER e-reader line
Interead, makers of the COOL-ER line of e-readers, announced new models in Las Vegas. At only 6.7” x 4.6” x 0.41” (170 mm x 117 mm x 10 mm), the COOL-ER Compact has the smallest footprint of any e-reader, according to the manufacturer, while still maximising the reader experience with a 6” E Ink screen. With 2GB onboard memory (expandable via SD card to 6GB total), it easily holds thousands of e-books.
Weighing in at only 5.8 ounces (164 grams), COOL-ER Connect has wifi and a touch screen. COOL-ER 3G adds 3G connectivity to the e-reader experience to and the user can download 1,400+ periodicals and 2 million + books wherever he or she is.
COOL-ER Compact and COOL-ER Connect will be available in Spring 2010, and COOL-ER 3G will be available in mid-2010. COOL-ER works with e-books in all commonly used e-book formats, including EPUB and PDF.
Iriver’s E-reader Story is showcased at CES
Iriver was showcasing the new Iriver Story e-book. “Iriver is currently lining up content providers in preparation for the launch, and the current version of the Story will be available in January 2010 at selected retailers, with an updated wifi version of the device available by the beginning of Q2 2010. The Story recently had a successful launch in overseas markets, including the UK, Germany and Korea” said the company.
Key features include e-book reading software, office file viewer, mp3 player, voice recorder and personal organiser with memo pad and scheduler. The Story e-reader has a 2GB internal memory, with an SD card capacity of 16GB. It can store more than 13,000 book titles, is compatible with PDF, PPT, DOC and XLS office files, and plays mp3, wma or audio book files.
Jinke announces 6 and 9-inch SiPix e-readers
Jinke has switched from E Ink to SiPix displays for its new devices called the A6 and the A9 e-readers. The A6 is a 6-inch device (600 x 800) and the A9 features a 9-inch (1024 x 768) panel. Both the A6 ($275) and the A9 ($330) should be available in March 2010.
SiPix, a division of AU Optronics, has announced that it will bring "a small number" of colour e-ink displays to market by the end of 2010.
All technical details on the A6 and A9 e-readers
Samsung unveils its first e-reading devices
Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Corporation, unveiled its first e-book devices, with six-inch (E6) and ten-inch (E101) screen size offerings. Samsung’s E6 and E101 enable handwriting directly onto the display, allowing users to annotate their reading selections, calendars and to-do lists with a built-in electromagnetic resonance (EMR) stylus pen. Samsung’s e-books are equipped for wireless connectivity as well. Wi-Fi 802.11b/g allows users to download content such as books and newspapers from a server wirelessly, as well as to share certain content with other devices. Bluetooth 2.0 is also a built-in feature. The Samsung E6 and E101 will be priced at $399 and $699, respectively. They will be available in early 2010.
Spring Design unveils Alex Dual Screen Android-based E-reader at CES 2010
Spring Design http will take the wraps off the Alex™, the only dual-screen Google Android-based e-reader to fully integrate web browsing and reading, according to the manufacturer.
Alex’s network connections with wifi, 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM.
Alex can be purchased for $359 (instead of $399 as first announced) starting February 22, 2010 on the www.springdesign.com site, with other availability to be announced.
Spring Design and Borders Group, Inc. announced in Las Vegas an agreement to feature the upcoming Borders eBook store powered by Kobo on the new dual display Alex e-reader later this year. Kobo is a global e-reading service backed by majority shareholder Indigo Books & Music, Borders Group, REDgroup Retail, and Cheung Kong Holdings. Kobo believes consumers should be able to read any book on any device. With a catalogue of over two million e-books, and an open platform, Kobo enables retailers, device manufacturers and mobile operators to bring e-reading to customers everywhere (www.kobobooks.com).
Who will debut with Pixel Qi screens?
“Our first production batch of screens will be ready shortly. We will be ramping production scale over Q1 2010. We can now announce that the first units are going into specialized tablet devices with multi-touch. Increasingly these screens will be super-slim, but some customers prefer the standard thickness” wrote PixelQi founder Mary Lou Jepsen (left photo) last December in her blog. Joanna Stern, contributing editor of Engadget reports: “We've been waiting and waiting to see Pixel Qi's 3Qi e-paper screen in a device, and we were hoping to see some sort of solid announcement at CES, but looks like we will still be waiting. Though the company has ramped up production on its E ink killer, which allows you to turn the backlight off on an LCD screen, they're still working with its half a dozen partners. We were told that within the year we will see a manufacturer that ‘everyone is familiar with’ announcing a device that uses the technology. No word on if it will be a netbook, e-reader or tablet,” reports Stern.
Netronix Inc. and PocketBook Declare Joint Venture
Netronix and PocketBook have announced a new joint venture. The new entity, PocketBook Global intends to place on the market more than 20 models of e-readers. The merged company’s annual turnover is projected to be above USD 165 million. Offices will be located in major world markets – USA, Germany, Russia, China and others.
Netronix, Inc. is a manufacturer of electronic readers and network products, headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Details – www.NetronixInc.com.
PocketBook – PocketBook is an independent company, producer of software which allows users to read books, play audio books, look at pictures and has a lot of additional applications as well. Details – www.PocketBookReader.com