Is there an E-Reader war really going on? Or is it merely a clever ploy for marketers to sell you a new e-reader?
Ever since the apple I-Pad was announced there is a large marketing machine devoted towards propagating the concept of an E-Reader War. The Electronic Reader war is a concept to be able to drum up news on a daily basis as different companies such as Apple, Notion Ink, Microsoft, Entourage, Samsung and Asus getting involved an increasingly competitive market. Thereby gaining more interest in E-readers to people who have not yet heard of them, or have little to no knowledge on the differences between a traditional e-reader and a modern day tablet.
For the last five years the electronic reader market was cornerstone by three companies, Amazon, iRex and Sony. Amazon refuses to release exact sales numbers but it appears that the Kindle brand, including the Kindle DX, and Kindle 2, is the market leader in the United States. IRex , whose main sellers are the Iliad and the Digital Reader 100 Series, seems to hold the market lead in Europe. Sony according to our statistical analysis of quarterly reports is the most popular in the rest of the world, except China.
Amazon is trying to recoup market dominance in the United States by offering a Web Browser in its Kindle Devices this summer, as a recent job posting indicates. They seem to be trying to enter the European market but are having trouble with Telecom agreements for their WI-FI and Internet. Sony has done a major promotional blitz on the United States with their partnership of Google and their Sony 900 Daily Edition which is featured in every major technology publication. The Partnership with Google lets owners of the Sony E-Reader to have access to half a mission in Free Books, which are mainly classics and older books. Lastly IREX has announced plans to enter the United States market with Telecom agreements with Verizon and device sales via Best Buy.
The new breed of hybrid Electronic Readers by new companies to the market are using various technology has major selling points, while others adhere to E-INK technology, which many users claim is better on the eyes. Companies such as ASUS with their Asus 950 E-Reader and Samsung are releasing E-readers in the next few months, they offer various features such as Touch Screen technology in some cases, and higher end 9 Inch Screens, much akin to the Kindle DX.
These Companies pushing the E-Reader concept and abstaining from the traditional E-Ink technology all together and entering the market in the next six months. Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HP Entourage and others are entering the E-Reader market with devices that do MUCH more than just allowing the user to read books.
The new breed of E-Reader is allowing the user to view images in full color, all featuring touch screens and large 9 inch displays that allow you to watch videos, browse the internet with popular web browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Opera, and most allow you to download and install applications.
Apple is of course pushing the I-Pad which has a new Book Store and many new business applications built into the unit, WI FI. Notion Ink Adam is coming out this July, which boasts a Tegra Processor with a Google Android open source operating system and major browsers such as Firefox. While companies like Microsoft are releasing the Microsoft Courier, which features dual screens, and a very unique non-tablet approach to a business and e-reader device.
With so many new competitors vying for an increasing competitive market, the E-Reader War is just starting to heat up. You see more commercials in new and traditional media advertising their products. YouTube, Press Releases and much more are written on a daily basis propagating the concept that there is a war going on, and we must all pay attention to the feints, diversions and major launches to see who will sell the most units. Consider the Apple Promotion machine, there were MP3 players and such for allot of years, but it was not until the I-POD was introduced on a mass market scale, did the average person find out there was an alternative to CD Players and even, gasp, cassette players. Meanwhile the more techno savvy person saw the I-POD has a new device to purchase that stored more music then any of their other units.
Will the public respond to the I-Pad and the other Multi-Media Slate devices in similar fashion?
If anything, the new E-Reader war is introducing a fresh new concept. That the average non technologically inclined person, does have a way to save money vs. buying real books, and still get They also for the same cost as a traditional E-Reader, in the case of the Kindle DX, the average person sees more value in a tablet device. In Essence the concept is to make you aware, that a newbreed of products are soon to be coming out, that will change your life. They also are trying to stop you from buying that new Net book, or the new Laptop.
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.