e-Readers are a technology that is relatively fringe in nature and has seen its growth stymied by the rise of tablets. E-Ink Holdings is the company primarily responsible for 90% of all e-Paper technology currently on the market. Last quarter, they lost $33 million and has been in constant decline for the past year. What can turn the e-paper industry around and have a greater market appeal? The answer is relatively easy: split screen cases for phones.
Plastic Logic and Pocketbook have been working together on a new high concept product that will see production begin in October. It basically is a phone case, but instead of it being made of leather, it has an e-Ink display panel. Built within the new Pocketbook app in development, users can switch an e-reading experience over to the e-ink display, instead of the LCD Screen. The two companies have announced that they are making a new model for the Apple iPhone.
A recent Pew Research report stated that 91% of the United States population has a cell phone and 61% have verified it to be smartphones. Major companies such as Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and Amazon all make solid revenue by selling eBooks to phone owners. The main problem with reading on small LCD screens is that readers end up straining their eyes and often get distracted by the multimedia. Having a split screen e-ink panel built into a highly functional case can minimize those issues.
In the next year, these types of display screens will catch on and companies like Kobo might see the benefits to offering mobile phone companies a subsidized case for new activations. eBook credit may also be offered as a further incentive to lure readers into their particular ecosystem.
Likely all the major players in the e-Reader and smartphone space are looking at this new technology as having high potential. Not a single unit has been sold yet, but something is compelling about a simple low-cost accessory that gives a full e-reading experience.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.