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Old 04-15-2008, 09:51 PM   #1
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Price Pressure this Fall?

In the US, the iLiad's $699 price has been higher than other E-Ink devices but somewhat competitive (e.g with $399 for the Kindle) given its added capability.

However, if the Astak Mentor's projected price of $349 (or less) for a 9.7" screen, WiFi, touchscreen, and bluetooth is achieved in September then the iLiad (or its successor) will have to come down drastically in price. See the thread Astak Mentor eBook readers with WiFi and Touchscreen options or, for a summary, Astak Mentor in the wiki and in the E-book Reader Matrix.

The Mentor will run WinCE, and may not include MobiPocket Reader (it will include eReader support, and MobiPocket wants exclusivity). So it is certainly possible that the iLiad's software will be superior, but there will be other devices based on the Vizplex 9.7" screen and $350 for the Mentor sets the pricing bar for all of them.

It is also possible that the Vizplex 9.7" screens won't be available in quantity by September. Currently, there are not enough of them to sell $4000 Prototype Kits (8" screens are already available with these kits).
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:17 AM   #2
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As far I understand "touchscreen" is different to "Stylus screen", that is you can roughly point at a touchscreen, but its hardly exact enough to scribble anything.

BTW: I gladly pay 100€ to keep a device windows free

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Old 04-16-2008, 09:42 AM   #3
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As far I understand "touchscreen" is different to "Stylus screen", that is you can roughly point at a touchscreen, but its hardly exact enough to scribble anything.
Yes, the Wacom technology is superior and there are reports that cheap touchscreens reduce the screen contrast. However, on a 9.7" screen using a finger instead of a stylus for pointing should work very well.

Scribbling with a stylus is possible on my PepperPad and Nokia 770 (without Wacom), but I was initially very impressed at how well the iLiad's on-screen keyboard worked compared to the 770's (partly the bigger screen and partly Wacom). This is another area where the iLiad is not living up to its potential. if it was fully using its Wacom capabilities then it would be in a more secure position going forward.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:50 AM   #4
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This is another area where the iLiad is not living up to its potential. if it was fully using its Wacom capabilities then it would be in a more secure position going forward.
I have to agree. I don't know what iRex is thinking. They've got some great potential... and they've done very little to capitalize on it.
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:51 PM   #5
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what i conclude of the price of wacom tablet in the size of the iLiad. Wacom is a major price issue with the iLiad. A Wacom tablet that size cost 200-250€. If yo leave that away, or replace it with cheap technology, you know where the price difference to the non-wacom capable devices comes from.

IMHO its WACOMs patent why they cash so much, also from iRex.

People always call for price cuts, but say they pay aprox. 200€ for the WACOM tablet, and 200€ for the eInk screen. You got 250€ left for CPUs / Mainboard / Memory / Casing etc. and getting something back for the development costs.

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Old 04-16-2008, 03:20 PM   #6
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People always call for price cuts, but say they pay aprox. 200€ for the WACOM tablet, and 200€ for the eInk screen. You got 250€ left for CPUs / Mainboard / Memory / Casing etc. and getting something back for the development costs.
I'm not arguing they should not make a profit, but rather that if they can't sell for less there will be very few buyers when (if) a $350 device with 9.7" screen becomes available. At that point, either iRex cuts prices, or they provide convincing value added (software and/or hardware), or they go out of business.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
I'm not arguing they should not make a profit, but rather that if they can't sell for less there will be very few buyers when (if) a $350 device with 9.7" screen becomes available. At that point, either iRex cuts prices, or they provide convincing value added (software and/or hardware), or they go out of business.
I guess If they sell the iLiad for 350$ the *WILL* get out of business Like a manager of mine once said in a hard price negotiation, they: "Look we know, if we are not going to buy that project from you, your are out business", him: "Likely, but if we sell for *that* price you demand, we will be out of business even faster".

If there really isn't a market for a high quality device like the iLiad, I guess the only thing to go is to cut on it characteristics, like replace the WACOM Stylus with a cheap touchscreen, where you can no longer scribble on it. Or to use a cheaper CPU, or remove flash card support, or remove WIFI support, etc. But I guess people would be unhappy about this kind of "trimmed down" version also.

BTW: As I read your link, they say explicitly that touchscreen and WiFi is an (optional) option, and I guess this isn't included in the 350€ price...

As said, I personally would never want to buy a windows CE device, no matter how much cheaper it is. And also I trust in things only to be existing when they are really out, not some obscure crystal ball anouncement. Especially Astak employees posting directly here, IMHO its kind of dubios... who knows.

Last edited by axel77; 04-16-2008 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:03 PM   #8
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We've had direct representatives from several makers post here: Bookeen, HanLin, iRex, just to name three. So this posting is not all that surprising, given our history.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:13 PM   #9
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I have to agree. I don't know what iRex is thinking. They've got some great potential... and they've done very little to capitalize on it.
100% agree on that, the iLiad is really shortened on Software for what the Hardware could be capable of. Booksmarks, Column reading, annotating text with notes (instead directly on the texts), linking text parts with other texts on the iliad, linking with notes. Having a good webbrowser installed by default, preinstalled games, preinstalled calculator, get the iDS do something instead just Software updates, I think everyone would want to add some lines, what only by upgrading software the iLiad could really stand out of the competition, since if you "just want to read", without the need of Stylus&Co. you'd might really be better of with a Sony, not?
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:13 AM   #10
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On a number of occasions I have had a feeling of deja vu with the iliad, thinking back to the heady days of the psion PDAs. I found this article on The Register about what went wrong with psion a very interesting read, and I wonder how many parallels there are with iRex. The psion for me has always been the best PDA. I've tried a palm and others like it but never grew to love it like my psion. I ended up deciding to buy an iliad and not procrastinate any more because I was worried iRex would go out of business before I had a chance to get one. Perhaps this is part of a cunning marketing strategy.

Anyway, the article is a long read, but a good one. I printed out a PDF version and read it on my iliad (of course). And for those interested in linux my psion 5MX is a dual-boot EPOC and linux system. Someone even managed to get a fully functional and useable Apache / MySQL / PHP4 development system running on it.

The psion 5MX runs for about 40 hours on two AA batteries and is instant on and off, even when running linux (really instantaneous). No e-ink though
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:38 PM   #11
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daudi, as this pdf isn't available for nada, do you mind to give us an executive summary (this is btw. AFAIK 100% legal, as long you don't directly copy/paste anything out of the article)..
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Old 04-17-2008, 05:07 PM   #12
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daudi, as this pdf isn't available for nada, do you mind to give us an executive summary (this is btw. AFAIK 100% legal, as long you don't directly copy/paste anything out of the article)..
Ah, sorry, I actually meant to post the URL of the webpage version. This was the version that I printed to PDF for myself. I only found their PDF version today when searching for this.
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Old 04-17-2008, 05:52 PM   #13
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Thanks for that Link. Can I still have an executive summary? I'm lazy, I know, but there is so much other I ouht to read...
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Old 04-18-2008, 03:31 AM   #14
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Thanks for that Link. Can I still have an executive summary? I'm lazy, I know, but there is so much other I ouht to read...
Hey, and I don't have things I want to read or do?!!!!

I read it in short sessions over a couple of weeks (while on the bus, etc.) so I now can't remember all the detail. But it is the story of a company with a great product, with ideas ahead of their time, of something that should not have failed, but they misread the competition, misread the market needs for their products and made other management mistakes and blew it.

It's a real story of "if only..." and it is that sense that I sometimes have with iRex. The weren't so much defeated by the competition, they were defeated by themselves.

From the article:
Quote:
Today, the people who drew up those plans at Psion now underpin successful businesses in the very fields Psion rejected. In four years, Psion's former hardware chief turned a tiny Dutch software company into the leader in SatNav systems: TomTom this year will generate $2bn in turnover, using a core of former Psion staff, and led by the computer division's former managing director Harold Goddijn, and its star sales chief, Corinne Vigreux.

And the Psion engineer who eight years ago scouted component factories in England with a dream of making a hard disk-based MP3 player, today heads the engineering for Apple's iPod division. The only one of these consumer electronics products to make it to market was a DAB Radio. While smaller than satnav and portable music, the digital radio market is expected to be worth $1bn next year.
But really I recommend reading the whole thing.

Last edited by daudi; 04-18-2008 at 03:52 AM. Reason: Minor edits to text
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