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Old 03-09-2012, 07:26 AM   #1
Polyglot27
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Will color tablets replace e-ink readers in the short term?

2011 was the year of the e-reader. However, according to an article in The Register, Amazon moved fewer e-ink readers in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter.
"The report put global shipments of ereaders in the first quarter of 2012 at only two million units, down from nine million the previous quarter. Even though Q4 2011 included the all-important Christmas sales period, it still represents a significant drop in sales."
Until the arrival of good color e-ink screens, it seems that more and more users are moving to cheap color multi-purpose tablets like the Kindle Fire and the Nook tablet. So the question is, has the monochrome e-ink reader reached, or even gone past its peak of popularity?
The full article is here:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03...er_slump_2012/
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:03 AM   #2
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Possibly in the short term. With all of the beautiful screens out there it's possible. With those just looking for an ereader then they will get an eink device. But I think people see a tablet with just a bit more money & they can do so much more.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:15 AM   #3
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I would look to the history of the technology industry as a guide for where the future will take us. More specifically I would like to point to the development of the common printer as a guide. According to pals of mine who work in HP's sales the majority of the printers that have sold have been "dedicated" printers, in other words printers that simply print and not anything else. However, they have told me, of the printer market they estimate that approximatly 25% of the market is in multi-functional printers, in other words the "all in one" printers or the office jet printers that can print, fax and scan.

I would venture to guess that the development of the electronic reader will be similar to the development of the common household and office printer where the majority of the units sold would be dedicated devices and a siginficant share of the total would be the multi-functional devices, the tablets.

I personally have both and I can see what my pals are talking about. My kindle three is used for the book reading while the fire typically browses the internet and runs apps that gather information and present it in a readable form. The fire can show books, however there are problems: battery life (if I took my fire to work with me to read on the bus on the way the battery would be dead long before I got to the office where as the kindle three has no problem lasting al day), and screen technology (I do not belive that the LCD technology is best for reading on the bus and subway and would be better suited for environments such as times where the buss has a few lights out.)
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:25 AM   #4
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I think that if sales go down significantly, eink readers will disappear :-(

And I will be really sad, because right now there is nothing better if you want to read a book. But market is rule by sales numbers, profit. It looks like people prefer to buy a multipurpose device instead, where they can read, browse Internet and do email stuff .

Eink devices need to evolve. I believe eink devices that provide color will give a boost to the whole experience and attract new customers. But that won't happen anytime soon. Maybe in two years.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocampo View Post
I think that if sales go down significantly, eink readers will disappear :-(

And I will be really sad, because right now there is nothing better if you want to read a book. But market is rule by sales numbers, profit. It looks like people prefer to buy a multipurpose device instead, where they can read, browse Internet and do email stuff .

Eink devices need to evolve. I believe eink devices that provide color will give a boost to the whole experience and attract new customers. But that won't happen anytime soon. Maybe in two years.
Emphasis mine, and I agree. The whole reason I like the nook touch is its singularity of purpose; it does one thing very well and it really doesn't try to do anything else (subtle lock-in marketing aside); it displays the pages of my book in easy-to-read way. It doesn't distract me with anything outside the world the author has created for me with words.

You feel like that. I feel like that. Others here feel like that. The market exists so somebody is going to fill the niche. I already have two nook touch devices. If I see them about to go under, I'll buy two more just to be on the safe side.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:51 AM   #6
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I don't think eink will go away for a long time. Not with amazon around. I think there will always be a market. There just are some people that refuse to read on a tablet. They prefer eink. I like both & could go either way, I regularly do in fact. So we'll see.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:52 AM   #7
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Exactly the reason why I have two devices, one for book reading and the other for web surfing. My kindle three does not attempt to be a tablet and while my fire can do the book reading that's not why I have it.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:54 AM   #8
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Dedicated ebook readers are unlikely to go away any time soon.

It is not the case that everyone reads (buys) the same number of books as everyone else. A relatively small group purchases about half of all books, whereas most people buy one or two books a year.

As long as the people who buy the most books see value in a dedicated device, they'll continue making them.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyluis View Post
I don't think eink will go away for a long time. Not with amazon around. I think there will always be a market. There just are some people that refuse to read on a tablet. They prefer eink. I like both & could go either way, I regularly do in fact. So we'll see.
I don't know Luis ...

Amazon abandoned Kindle DXG... and after heavily promoting eink, started selling the Fire.

I think most people are willing to spend 200 bucks on a tablet than an eink device.

Last edited by jocampo; 03-09-2012 at 10:26 AM. Reason: Fixing a typo.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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Yeah. I guess time will tell.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:08 AM   #11
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On a personal note:
I went through several ebook and tablet devices with high res color screens and android based OS underneath looking for a good viewer for comics/mags. After settling on what I have now, I realized that these devices are no good for your basic average everyday "just sitting around and reading a book" activities.
I ended up also getting an e-ink type device for actual ebook reading. The battery life, ease of viewing pages in ambient light/sunlight, and weight difference in a heavier tablet style device make all the difference in the world.

I don't see an all-in-one device out there right now. I think the fluctuations in sales are merely waves of different users buying the latest and greatest as they come out. "Battle of the new ebook readers" vs "battle of the new tablets" vs "battle of the new ultra-portable netbook" vs "battle of the latest i-device".
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:17 AM   #12
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I think a tablet appeals more to the casual reader who reads less than a book a month (which is most people who read... we've seen studies about that here). An e-ink reader appeals more to people who read A LOT. Perhaps the majority of people who would find an e-ink reader appealing already have one? There are only two ways to make them more appealing to people who haven't bought one yet: drop the price (would more people get one when they reach $50?) or add features (color being the main one... but with tablets getting better and better, I think color in an e-ink reader is becoming less important?).

And then there are those of us who DO have an e-ink reader. These cheaply-made gizmos are not going to last forever. How terrible would it be for your ereader to break and you'd have a hard time finding a replacement? So I hope that somebody continues to make them. I think that somebody will, and I think that somebody will be Amazon.

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Old 03-09-2012, 09:59 AM   #13
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I love love love my eInk readers, but I'm thinking about getting a large tablet for my color PDFs. My 950 handles PDFs about as well as eInk can, but it's still a very limited experience...
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:10 AM   #14
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Depends on what is next for eInk readers. Now that I own one, you'd have to pull my eInk reader out of my cold, dead and mostly decayed hands (and you better be willing to break all of my fingers in the process).

I also love my tablet (iPad 2). I'd probably consider giving up my desktop before I gave up my tablet.

I think in part it depends on what the Nook Touch 2 (I assume B&N is working on one now) and the Kindle Touch 2 (again I assume Amazon is working on one now) and the Kobo touch 2 (working on one as well?) bring to the table?

Are they going to be slight refinements? Are they going to be "stuck" with the same eInk Pearl screen? Or are there going to be significant improvements? Like front lighting using that nifty looking LED waveguide front lighting that company demo'd about 2 months ago for night/dim light use? Or maybe an improved eInk B&W screen (faster response, less ghosting, higher contrast, more shades of grey?)? Or maybe a real and decent color eInk display (its going to have to be better than the Triton both in contrast and resolution before I think it would be viable to replace even eInk pearl)?

I think it just depends.

If you can add one/some/all of what I mentioned above, I'd probably upgrade my nook simple touch to the next generation once it came out, so long as it was at a resonable price. At $99 or less it almost wouldn't even be a second thought. At $149 it would need to include several of the above. More than $149 and I probably wouldn't upgrade unless it was all of the above (color eInk that had better contrast, response time and REAL resolution than eInk pearl, front lighting that didn't suck and faster screen response time).
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:26 AM   #15
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Nah. I can't see eInk going anywhere. Maybe if a color eInk comes out that is REALLY fantastic to look at, but even then...that's still eInk. As far as what we see now with Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, etc...I don't think that tablets are going to out and out kill that market. Probably eat into it a bit when the prices of the tablets come down to the sub-$100's, making them a bit more attractive. But, even then, the price of eInk readers will probably drop to stupid-low prices (Amazon announces a $30 Kindle!*).

*Hypothetical, not real.
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