Current Trends in eReading

Previous page : The eReading Market

ePaper : Survival times

Before January 27th, ePaper seemed to be the way to go for eReading. When Apple announced the iPad, there was a sudden brake in the ePaper enthusiasm.  Several companies who had bet on ePaper had difficulties in transforming the idea in a success. IRex Technologies had some financial problems and will have to come back next year (see http://www.delicious.com/appepaper/irex). Plastic Logic has to cancel his QUE product : "Plastic Logic today announced it is revising its product strategy and plans to shift its focus to bring to market a second-generation ProReader plastic electronics-based product. The company said it has cancelled its QUE product, which it debuted at CES in January 2010 and planned to ship earlier this year.  (August 10th 2010)" (see http://www.delicious.com/appepaper/plasticlogic).

On the other hand, the Amazon Kindle and the Sony eReader seem to resist in this difficult Market. They have also a different pricing. One of the commercials of the Kindle says it costs less than the sunglasses you wear for reading in the sunlight... (see http://appepaper.blogspot.com/2010/09/its-kindle.html). The logic behind the pricing is very simple. If you read about 10 books and if you receive a discount on the eBooks, your ePaper eReader is nearly for free. Bol.com did such an offer last year for Christmas and it was quiet successful. They sold several thousand eReaders in the Netherlands in a few days (see http://www.delicious.com/appepaper/bol.com).

I still believe epaper eReaders are not dead. They will come back thanks to their energy saving capabilities. Wait and see...

Tablets : Apple and Android

The eReading market lived a rapid shift this year switching from ePaper to Tablets like the iPad. Today the iPad competitors are entering the market and Android seems to have been adopted massively by many manufacturers.

The advantage of Tablets is that they not only allow you to read eBooks. There are also a ton of more or less useful applications that you can run. Tablets allow much more eReading scenarios than eReaders.  They also very well integrate with Social Networks which becomes increasingly important in the marketing of Digital Contents,as one can see in The eReading Contents Lifecycle.

Apple and Google don't only provide the devices and/or their operating systems to the readers, they also compete in the applications market. Apple proposes the iBookStore, Google will soon propose Google Editions.

Smartphones

Many tablets are indeed "bigger phones". They have the same buttons, the same operating systems (iPhone OS, Android). Therefore many eReading applications can run on those  Mobile Phones. As there are much more phones than tablets out there, it's a huge market for eReading.

Applications in the cloud

As we can see, eReading is not done on a single device. You can read on epaper ereaders, on tablets, on mobile phones, on your computer... Therefore many ereading application suppliers have understood that it must be possible to read their content with any device from anywhere. At the eReader side they will implement end user apps for the most common platforms (iPhone, Android, or simply Mobile websites) while the functionality will reside on the Internet. This provides a low entry barrier for new customers as there is little installation required. You just need to install the app and register before using the service.

There are many examples of "eReading" applications in the cloud : Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Books, Zinio, Stanza, Notubiz, eLinea...


Next Page : Overview of the eReading Reference Architecture
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