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Old 02-20-2010, 11:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mgmueller View Post
Question is: Who's their (potential) consumer?
Unfortunately, we don't see any real figures. We more or less have to speculate about hardware sales and content revenue.
As a comparison, we often hear about 500k Kindles per year.
If that's true (and given the surprisingly low figures of content revenue Analysts gave a few weeks ago [about $ 100m for Amazon year-to-date October 2009] this seems about right), we can assume that smaller ones like BeBook, Cybook, iRex, ... will be way lower.
Maybe 100k units per year globally?
Maybe even less?
So we're obviously not talking about the average book reader, but a very small niche of enthusiasts.
And for those enthusiasts, costs may not be that important.
Just an example: I've been a Commodore-fan til the last second. So I've bought my very first PC only in 1995. It was $ 4.000 then. I certainly wouldn't be willing to pay even half of it today. But back then, as an early adopter (very first Pentium 100), I didn't hesitate.
I assume, they've done their market research.
And as they've got their plant in Germany, I guess they've got financial support from Germany and the EU. And they definitely insist on a valid business plan.
You're absolutely correct about a very small niche of enthusiasts. According to Plastic Logic that niche is "business professionals". They seem to be really limited themselves by constantly stating it's for business professionals which is really too generic and isolating.
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:05 PM   #17
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Large screen color ebook readers are dawning:

Delta's 13.1-inch color e-readers due out mid-year

http://www.computerworld.com/s/artic...e_out_mid_year
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:59 PM   #18
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Interesting device.

My primary problem with the price of the QUE is you can get a decent dual core Intel or AMD, 4 GB memory and a huge hard drive for much less money, even a dedicated video card with better resolution than the QUE. I understand it is not a fair comparison but when it comes down to hard cash, why should people be expected to pay more than the price of a good notebook? Now, your explanation of how revenue works for starter ventures makes perfect sense and from that angle it does explain why the price is what it is for the QUE. I can't say whether I would buy the QUE or not. It would really have to do something beyond any other device for me to consider buying it.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:54 AM   #19
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The pricing of this thing plus the disastrous timing with the release of the iPad basically mean that this device isn't just going to sell poorly, it's hardly going to sell at all. Anyone in the "business professional" category dropping that kind of cash for a business-oriented device is just going to buy a laptop. The folks at PL are just nuts. Of course, voting with your wallet is definitely a way to get the price to come down. I predict that within a few months after the iPad really gets off the ground, PL re-purposes and re-prices this thing in the $400 to $500 range. The price they're charging now is just insane.
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Old 02-21-2010, 02:28 AM   #20
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I wouldn't say there is no room for this device. The iPad is not very handy for a business professional either, as many of them already use smartphones for their duties. This could be seen as "the document reader" for bureaucratic positions, provided that their software is easy to use. However, the pricing range is ludicrous.

BTW, you would do well in remembering that Apple has many of its scale de-economies covered by the public works, so the profit range they're making is not real. Probably they should be losing money if they had to actually build the infrastructure for their things to work.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:58 AM   #21
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I agree that it is extreme to say that there is no room for this device. I think there is. Of course, the expectation is that the QUE is really great at it what it is designed to do and what it does. It is also true that the price is the result of the cost of its top of the line components, quality of build, materials, etc, etc. Now, in the real world where competition is tough it is hard to say whether the QUE will make it. Besides the fact that it is priced higher than any other e-reader device and product of its kind, there are powerful notebooks that sell for less than that price. If the QUE is targeted at business professionals, I honestly do not see any business professional choosing this device over a notebook. I think the price of the QUE needs to come down by $200 or more to stay competitive.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by zetareticuli View Post
I agree that it is extreme to say that there is no room for this device. I think there is. Of course, the expectation is that the QUE is really great at it what it is designed to do and what it does. It is also true that the price is the result of the cost of its top of the line components, quality of build, materials, etc, etc. Now, in the real world where competition is tough it is hard to say whether the QUE will make it. Besides the fact that it is priced higher than any other e-reader device and product of its kind, there are powerful notebooks that sell for less than that price. If the QUE is targeted at business professionals, I honestly do not see any business professional choosing this device over a notebook. I think the price of the QUE needs to come down by $200 or more to stay competitive.
If it's really mainly aimed towards business professionals, I don't think costs are any problem.
If your travel budget is $ 20k per year, I don't think you'll care about +/- $ 200 for your tools. Then it will be solely about mobility, battery duration, reliability, ...
Don't forget: Professionals will write off their reader, so it comes down to about 50% of its initial cost.

And another figure I've already mentioned a few times: BooksOnBoard (if I remember correctly) somewhere stated, their average customer spends $ 500 within 1 year (or was it 18 months?) for eBooks after having purchased any reader from them.
For me, this calculation definitely is correct: I spend (way) more on eBooks than on hardware. So why should someone who uses his unit (semi)professionaly and spends at least $ 1.000 for content over the lifetime of his reader, care too much about initial invest?

Last edited by mgmueller; 02-21-2010 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:29 PM   #23
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The pricing of this thing plus the disastrous timing with the release of the iPad basically mean that this device isn't just going to sell poorly, it's hardly going to sell at all. Anyone in the "business professional" category dropping that kind of cash for a business-oriented device is just going to buy a laptop. The folks at PL are just nuts. Of course, voting with your wallet is definitely a way to get the price to come down. I predict that within a few months after the iPad really gets off the ground, PL re-purposes and re-prices this thing in the $400 to $500 range. The price they're charging now is just insane.
This depends on your definition of "professionals".
If "professionals" means (for example) consultants, they definitely are well equipped already. But of course they usually don't buy their hardware themselves, they are equipped by corporate. There's a budget of course, but the range we're talking about won't be any problem. Then it's all about tax deduction or professional acceptance.

If "professionals" means (upper) management, lots of them don't even have a laptop. Lots of them even refuse to use mobile phones or BlackBerrys ("I've got 1 or x PAs for that"). They might not use any kind of "tablet" either, it depends on the general acceptance and (to some extent) on the "cool factor".
iPad may nail it for some. But how many managers do you know who use iPhones?
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:45 PM   #24
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I wasn't necessarily trying to say that a business user would prefer an iPad over a Que. Forgive me for being unclear. I don't think a business user would be very interested in an iPad. What I meant was the price of this unit is more than a capable notebook computer, and it's not likely to entice very many business-oriented folks who are more likely to drop that cash on the notebook versus something that is essentially just a paper reader and nothing else. Also, the timing of its release with the iPad is equally a big problem for the company since quite a few regular consumers who happen to be relatively well-heeled and might consider this as just a large book reader would probably opt for an iPad with 3G instead because of its more combined and extensive capabilities. Only a consumer who is a die-hard e-ink fanatic would likely pick the Que over an iPad if given a choice. If the Que were priced around $400 to $500, then it would stack up as a realistic choice for a lot more potential customers in both the business market and the consumer market. As it stands, though, sales aren't likely going to be robust.

I'll be very interested in when and at what price the Skiff reader is introduced. Ever since both products debuted at CES, I've been far more interested in the Skiff than the Que. I hate the design of the Que, and that shiny black bezel that would show up every tiny water spot and fingerprint would drive me nuts.

Last edited by cmdahler; 02-21-2010 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:55 PM   #25
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...
I'll be very interested in when and at what price the Skiff reader is introduced. Ever since both products debuted at CES, I've been far more interested in the Skiff than the Que. I hate the design of the Que, and that shiny black bezel that would show up every tiny water spot and fingerprint would drive me nuts.
I feel the same way about the bezel on the QUE. Was very disappointed when they stated that's how it's coming to market. With something black and shiny like that you can never buff out everything, then after prolonged use it starts to look dull.

Keeping an eye on the Skiff too.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:02 PM   #26
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I wasn't necessarily trying to say that a business user would prefer an iPad over a Que. Forgive me for being unclear. I don't think a business user would be very interested in an iPad. What I meant was the price of this unit is more than a capable notebook computer, and it's not likely to entice very many business-oriented folks who are more likely to drop that cash on the notebook versus something that is essentially just a paper reader and nothing else. Also, the timing of its release with the iPad is equally a big problem for the company since quite a few regular consumers who happen to be relatively well-heeled and might consider this as just a large book reader would probably opt for an iPad with 3G instead because of its more combined and extensive capabilities. Only a consumer who is a die-hard e-ink fanatic would likely pick the Que over an iPad if given a choice. If the Que were priced around $400 to $500, then it would stack up as a realistic choice for a lot more potential customers in both the business market and the consumer market. As it stands, though, sales aren't likely going to be robust.

I'll be very interested in when and at what price the Skiff reader is introduced. Ever since both products debuted at CES, I've been far more interested in the Skiff than the Que. I hate the design of the Que, and that shiny black bezel that would show up every tiny water spot and fingerprint would drive me nuts.
I think, the eReader market in total is relatively small.
In one of the threads, an analyst's report was cited. Amazon was claimed to have 90% of the market share and around $ 100m til October 2009.
If the (assumed) market leader only has less than $ 150m per year, you can imagine how tiny this market is.
So I guess, none of the manufacturers/developers who solely sell/produce eBook readers, will expect a billion dollar business.
I guess (as surprising and kind of depressing this is) most companies like Bookeen or iRex probably have (way) less than $ 30m revenue.
If you're that small, your business plan is simple. You don't depend on economy, trends or other main influences of global nature. You simply rely on your 3k enthusiasts per month. For those few enthusiasts, it won't be about +/- $ 200 for the hardware.

iPad of course is a (totally) different story. But here we're talking about a (very successful and professional) $ 50b corporate. Maybe some 1500 times bigger than the "niche players".

Last edited by mgmueller; 02-21-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:12 PM   #27
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i absolutely agree on the shiny bezel. IF i purchase one- and that depends on several factors still- I will also be getting the hard shell http://buyque.barnesandnoble.com/Hom...0814311010074/ so i can cover the finger print magnet. I told them at CES they should include it for the pre-orders.

I see this being used by lawyers, judges and politicians quite a bit.

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Old 02-21-2010, 01:14 PM   #28
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I feel the same way about the bezel on the QUE. Was very disappointed when they stated that's how it's coming to market. With something black and shiny like that you can never buff out everything, then after prolonged use it starts to look dull.

Keeping an eye on the Skiff too.
So far, I like what I see.
And I guess, being from "expensive" Europe, I'm less surprised about the price.
I've paid € 499 for iRex 800S, without WiFi.
Que, without 3G, is $ 649 = € 490 if I can avoid the European taxes, customs, ...
If I compare features and assume about the same price, I guess Que is more than okay.
If I go the "standard way" I'll end up around € 650 = 30% more than iRex 800S. Still explainable = WiFi, more GBs, bigger display, ....
Skiff is interesting as well of course.

About the bezel: I've got no problems with the dimensions of the bezel. But I agree: The former photos showing some kind of "dark creme color" have been less "intrusive". But I don't have any problems with the dark iRex iLaid, so it may be fine.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:15 PM   #29
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i absolutely agree on the shiny bezel. IF i purchase one- and that depends on several factors still- I will also be getting the hard shell http://buyque.barnesandnoble.com/Hom...0814311010074/ so i can cover the finger print magnet. I told them at CES they should include it for the pre-orders
Very attractive cover. It should be included in all orders at that price point!
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:15 PM   #30
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i absolutely agree on the shiny bezel. IF i purchase one- and that depends on several factors still- I will also be getting the hard shell http://buyque.barnesandnoble.com/Hom...0814311010074/ so i can cover the finger print magnet. I told them at CES they should include it for the pre-orders.

I see this being used by lawyers, judges and politicians quite a bit.
Hadn't seen that, looks great. Thanks for the tip.
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