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Old 07-10-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Chinese Kindle clone: Meet WeFound

China's ability to produce indistinguishable replicas of any moment’s must-have gadget is legendary. Hence it was only a matter of time before we would see the first Kindle look-alike coming from the Far East country. Tech-On is reporting that Founder Group, a major Chinese technology conglomerate, has demonstrated an e-book reader that looks very much like our beloved Kindle 2.

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At the first glance, the terminal looked very much like the Kindle 2. But, after carefully examining it, I found some differences, for example, in the shapes of the buttons on the right and left sides of the terminal, the width of the upper frame and, of course, the logo.
It will be interesting to see how Amazon is going to react to this development. Remember, the company has been awarded a patent that protects the look and feel of the Kindle shell.

The Chinese e-book reader, which name we assume is WeFound, is said to be released in China by the end of this year at a price of around $210. It will also come with a SIM card allowing the user to directly download e-books from an e-book portal.

Thanks to eagle-eyed MobileReader lee1234 for the tip!
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:41 PM   #2
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This is pretty funny! I recall there were some counterfeit K1's when they first came out, so it's interesting that they are now trying to go mainstream.

I noticed that the bottom row of keys with the spacebar is different as well. The joystick is a round button and I can't figure out how it works. Why have a QWERTY keyboard for a Chinese language device?
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daffy4u View Post
Why have a QWERTY keyboard for a Chinese language device?


I also heard that the device is operated with TD-SCDMA/3G and that Founder Group is currently evaluating it with the Guangming Daily newspaper.

Could that be them? http://foread.com.cn/

Last edited by TadW; 07-10-2009 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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This is par for the course with offshore manufacturing.

I wonder if someone in China built a shadow factory when Amazon was putting together the Kindle2 production line? This is when the plans and specs for the new production line are quietly copied and they build an identical production line a few miles away to churn out the same goods, with a different brand. You see the end result on sites like dealextreme.com where they sell 'lookalike' products based on major US brands. In my experience the quality is often lacking in these products (to put it nicely).

Ultimately it doesn't really hurt Amazon much since their innovation is all in the software and backend service, and the Kindle hardware design is only a small part of their IP. It's not like a Kindle clone could buy from Amazon.com. I assume Amazon have their software and other IP locked down with digital certificates etc that cannot be easily cloned, and unofficial devices are locked out by default.

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Old 07-10-2009, 11:17 PM   #5
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the way things go in China, they either hired someone from the factory that produced the Kindle or they just straight out copied it. There are probably dozens of such clones already. Quality lacking? Hehehe, you will be lucky if these things last a few days.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daffy4u View Post
Why have a QWERTY keyboard for a Chinese language device?
To write out Chinese you use a system that uses the same letters as the English alphabet. You enter the pinyin (romanized version of Chinese) and then select the characters that you want from a list of Chinese characters that can match the pinyin letters that you entered.

I do not know if that works on this device but that is how it works on computers and cell phones.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by nathanb View Post
To write out Chinese you use a system that uses the same letters as the English alphabet. You enter the pinyin (romanized version of Chinese) and then select the characters that you want from a list of Chinese characters that can match the pinyin letters that you entered.

I do not know if that works on this device but that is how it works on computers and cell phones.
Interesting. It sounds very labor intensive because I understand that Chinese has a very large number of characters. Thanks for explaining it.
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:02 AM   #8
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Pinyin or other systems, like Wubi, that are mostly based on the strokes of the characters. All can be entered via a keyboard. Chinese can be written much more quickly on a computer or phone querty keyboard than by hand, because today's software can very accurately anticipate the following key entries from the previous ones.

And don't forget that each character represents a full word, not a letter. So typing in Chinese is much quicker than in English -- even though there about 5000 commonly used characters. It is not really labor intensive. You type in the sound , then you get a list of characters that correspond to that sound and chose from the list by pressing the number. Then the software already guesses what the next word would be and gives you a list of choices. You just need to type a number for the next word then.

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Old 07-11-2009, 01:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by morpheus View Post
This is par for the course with offshore manufacturing.

I wonder if someone in China built a shadow factory when Amazon was putting together the Kindle2 production line? This is when the plans and specs for the new production line are quietly copied and they build an identical production line a few miles away to churn out the same goods, with a different brand. You see the end result on sites like dealextreme.com where they sell 'lookalike' products based on major US brands. In my experience the quality is often lacking in these products (to put it nicely).

Ultimately it doesn't really hurt Amazon much since their innovation is all in the software and backend service, and the Kindle hardware design is only a small part of their IP. It's not like a Kindle clone could buy from Amazon.com. I assume Amazon have their software and other IP locked down with digital certificates etc that cannot be easily cloned, and unofficial devices are locked out by default.
so called "5th shift" engineering. it's a major reason why nobody should do business there. i know people that invented really cool products, and within 2-3 months of having a chinese factory produce it, illegal and poorly functioning clones were being produced, sent to the usa, and customers called the ORIGINAL MAKER to complain !!! yow.

how many companies are making e-ink displays? mmm? even if NOTHING inside this look a like are the same, the damage is some ways is done.

now, if we could only get customs to actually lock down importing this illegal copycat junk.


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Old 07-11-2009, 03:19 AM   #10
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While i dont agree with the copying of another companys look I would guess that the majority of the components in the Kindle are probably manufactured by the same factory or at least a similar factory that supplies the creator of this reader.

Most electronic devices are made in China anyway. So the quality of the hardware may not be far of the kindle.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
It will be interesting to see how Amazon is going to react to this development. Remember, the company has been awarded a patent that protects the look and feel of the Kindle shell.
Which has probably no effect in China.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:20 AM   #12
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While i dont agree with the copying of another companys look I would guess that the majority of the components in the Kindle are probably manufactured by the same factory or at least a similar factory that supplies the creator of this reader.

Most electronic devices are made in China anyway. So the quality of the hardware may not be far of the kindle.

Just my 2 cents
True, most electronic goods (and most of everything else these days, it seems) is made in China. I did not mean to say that good products cannot be made in China. That would be nonsense. But the key is strict quality control --- which companies that work for the local market often do not have, since prices they can get for knockoffs tend to be ridiculously low.

As far as I know, the Kindle is made by Foxconn which is a subsidiary of Hong Hai Industries. They are one of the biggest electronics OEM companies and would never be stupid enough to copy a product which they produce for somebody else and commit commercial suicide. And while it cannot be ruled out that some subsuppliers sell parts elsewhere they would be careful about offending a big customer, too. Even if they do, the companies that produce knockoffs have less stringent standards and pay a lot less for parts, so they would still not be the same quality. An example, iphone knockoffs sell for around $100, a factory unlocked (not the subsidized kind they sell in the US) iphone costs 6-700.
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:35 PM   #13
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As far as I know, many eink reader are producing in mainland china/taiwan now.
For example, Hanlin has been producing eink reader for more than 5 years.
there are are more than 4 main e-reader device manufacturers in Chinese market now.

Amazon is monopolizing eink reader in US market, because it dominates on-line book selling. and it is trying to binding content and device as apple.

this business model can't be copied to other countries.



Quote:
Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
True, most electronic goods (and most of everything else these days, it seems) is made in China. I did not mean to say that good products cannot be made in China. That would be nonsense. But the key is strict quality control --- which companies that work for the local market often do not have, since prices they can get for knockoffs tend to be ridiculously low.

As far as I know, the Kindle is made by Foxconn which is a subsidiary of Hong Hai Industries. They are one of the biggest electronics OEM companies and would never be stupid enough to copy a product which they produce for somebody else and commit commercial suicide. And while it cannot be ruled out that some subsuppliers sell parts elsewhere they would be careful about offending a big customer, too. Even if they do, the companies that produce knockoffs have less stringent standards and pay a lot less for parts, so they would still not be the same quality. An example, iphone knockoffs sell for around $100, a factory unlocked (not the subsidized kind they sell in the US) iphone costs 6-700.
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:44 PM   #14
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Amazon is monopolizing eink reader in US market, because it dominates on-line book selling. and it is trying to binding content and device as apple.
Amazon does dominate in selling ebooks but it does not have monopoly. There is nothing stopping other ebook sellers from having larger catalogs. In fact, Barnes & Noble will probably give Amazon a run for their money once they are open.

As far as Amazon being like Apple, there are some similarities but the Windows world is way bigger than the Apple world (I'm a PC). Apple would be bigger if they licensed their software to other hardware companies, the same may or may not be true of Amazon sometime in the future..
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:50 PM   #15
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Seems like the OS is different too, is it even e-ink?
They probably won't be sold outside of China (unless via sites like ebay), due to copyright infringements, but China won't care much about that.
In fact they already have created a PSP clone, without getting sued.
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