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Old 07-12-2009, 06:22 AM   #16
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Well, it looks like the Kindle, but is the copyright infringement proven in this case? Lots of e-book readers look alike.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:55 AM   #17
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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.
You - like many others - forget that Kindle is only available in the USA. And after the Vodaphone / T-Online deal failed it will stay that way.

So this device might become a Kindle for the rest of us. Might - I think that at least in Europe Sony has better chances.

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Old 07-12-2009, 09:08 AM   #18
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You - like many others - forget that Kindle is only available in the USA. And after the Vodaphone / T-Online deal failed it will stay that way.
Are there no other cell carriers in Germany? What if Amazon bought part of one of the smaller ones, they could still get there. Where there's will there's a way.
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:20 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Krystian Galaj View Post
Well, it looks like the Kindle, but is the copyright infringement proven in this case? Lots of e-book readers look alike.
Lots of eBooks readers look alike because they use the same Netronix hardware.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:37 AM   #20
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If it looks just different enough, it's not copyright infringement...

There was some big noise a few years back here about food products. Some private labels looked almost exactly like the big corporation labels. In the end, this was allowed because there were differences. But at first glance, they looked alike.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:47 AM   #21
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Correct in that it wouldn't be copyright infringement. I believe it would be a trade dress dispute.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:57 PM   #22
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That's the thing I guess, Chinese factories, designers and labour all learn to make the cutting edge devices, no other country apart from Japan makes so many cutting edge devices in their factories. It's very easy for them to make a knock-off after they have been a part of the whole design process.

This one looks closer to a real kindle than the knock-off ipods are to real ipods.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:45 PM   #23
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I only care if the screens are E-ink or not
if they are with the chinese population and market the price of the e-ink screen should come down with economies of scale
meaning cheaper devices for the rest of us.
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:59 PM   #24
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Comments on China

My husband is Chinese and I've spent several years living and working in China, so I'd like to make a couple comments and correct a few inaccuracies.

Yes, a qwerty keyboard is used to input Chinese characters. in 1950 in an effort to standardize pronunciation the new Communist government created a system called Pinyin that used "our" alphabet to spell out Chinese words phonetically. The system could not replace the original written system of characters, though, because many words are identical when spelled on Pinyin and the only difference is how each character is written. The vast majority of Chinese words are two characters long, there are only a handful that are one character. There is also an input system that is based on common strokes used in Chinese characters, but it cumbersome and is not very commonly used.

The Kindle copy shown here was most likely reverse engineered by someone who got their hands on one. Chinese companies spend millions of dollars on divisions of engineers whose job it is to do exactly this. In China, what they're doing is not illegal. China is much more lax about patents and intellectual property, and ripping off someone else's device is about as bad as littering. And the Kindle's patent probably only protects it in the US, Amazon probably has not undertaken the lengthy process of obtaining a patent in China. It's an outdated stereotype that these copies will be bad quality, a Chinese company that wants to invest the time and money can often turn out a device equal to or even better than the original, for a lower price.

And the irony is that now the Kindle never will be patented in China. China will only patent a unique product. This is how the company that makes Viagra got burned. Chinese pharmaceutical companies had already pirated the formula and had it on the market before Pfizer decided to expand their market into China, so they could not obtain a patent.

To anyone interested in more information on this subject, I would highly recommend reading "China, Inc." I can personally attest that the things in this book are true.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:06 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krischik View Post
You - like many others - forget that Kindle is only available in the USA. And after the Vodaphone / T-Online deal failed it will stay that way.

So this device might become a Kindle for the rest of us. Might - I think that at least in Europe Sony has better chances.

Martin
...for the next week or so.
The Kindle motherboard is designed to be manufactured as a GSM-compatible gadget and also as a WiFi device.
So Amazon can readily produce an unlocked GSM or WiFi version of K2 at the drop of a hat.

The real hangups are the back-end services, book catalog, and certification.
That is where partnering with a local carrier helps; getting the Brusselcrats off their back.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:44 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stensie4JC View Post
My husband is Chinese and I've spent several years living and working in China, so I'd like to make a couple comments and correct a few inaccuracies.

Yes, a qwerty keyboard is used to input Chinese characters. in 1950 in an effort to standardize pronunciation the new Communist government created a system called Pinyin that used "our" alphabet to spell out Chinese words phonetically. The system could not replace the original written system of characters, though, because many words are identical when spelled on Pinyin and the only difference is how each character is written. The vast majority of Chinese words are two characters long, there are only a handful that are one character. There is also an input system that is based on common strokes used in Chinese characters, but it cumbersome and is not very commonly used.

The Kindle copy shown here was most likely reverse engineered by someone who got their hands on one. Chinese companies spend millions of dollars on divisions of engineers whose job it is to do exactly this. In China, what they're doing is not illegal. China is much more lax about patents and intellectual property, and ripping off someone else's device is about as bad as littering. And the Kindle's patent probably only protects it in the US, Amazon probably has not undertaken the lengthy process of obtaining a patent in China. It's an outdated stereotype that these copies will be bad quality, a Chinese company that wants to invest the time and money can often turn out a device equal to or even better than the original, for a lower price.
1.)Regarding the input systems: many Chinese prefer the stroke based system WuBi to the sound based PinYin. Of course, most Chinese words as they are being used are 2 syllables (and thus 2 characters) but each character (except 呢,阿,喔, etc which are just sound bites) is a word in itself with a meaning. I was just giving some simple explanations without going into much detail, since somebody asked. It would be possible to just use PinYin with tone indicators (as demonstrated by Vietnamese, a closely related language that is written in a latin alphabet these days with a few special characters), but a lot of meaning would be lost this way as so many words sound the same. There are dozens of meanings for ji in the first tone alone, each represented by a different character.

2.)The shoddy quality of knock-offs is not a myth, I have visited many hundreds of factories. It is what I do for a living. Chinese factories making OEM products can produce very high quality products. And remember, many of the real foreign brand named products are produced in factories that are not owned by mainland Chinese. Knock-offs can only sell for a small fraction of the price, they cannot afford to make them as well or better than the originals and they do not aspire to do so. People buying knock-offs know they buy them and they want rock bottom prices. Knock-offs compete with other knockoffs. Also the foreign companies that have OEM products produced in China know how to protect themselves through a system of parts suppliers that work only for them. And don't forget, Chinese brands get knocked off, too so people do not tend to trust brands, but rather the big stores, that sell them -- take it back if you have a problem. Walk around a store in China, no matter what they sell. Most of the items will be priced so low that they sometimes hardly even cover material costs. This is especially bad for industrial products.

Let me give you an example. A Japanese branded, China made, 20 head embroidery machine costs about RMB 400,000 or USD 58000.-. The best Chinese products fetch 100,000. And most of them go as low as 60,000 - 40,000. And they last 1 -2 years, run slow and unreliably, and cannot give you good quality embroidery. What about phones? Chinese made phones look like foreign branded phones, but they sell for 20% the price. Why do the local producers need a big leg up from the government (China has a separate 3G standard to keep everybody else out) if they are so good? Would you want a Chinese branded phone for the same price as foreign branded? How about cars? How many would pass European safety checks? You think the milk scandal was an isolated case?

3.)I agree with some of the things in China Inc., however, this only applies to a very select group of companies. For the vast majority of companies, workers, managers, etc cutting corners is still a way of life. They use the cheapest and shoddiest production equipment they can find, corruption is rampant. Yes, there are exceptions! The Chinese government is trying to change that, giving its own companies assistance with export subsidies and closing off markets. They are on their way up, but it is a long, long way. Costs are rising at an incredible pace and they cannot just rely on being cheap anymore.

As far as the Kindle is concerned, there is no threat. Even though the knockoffs will only cost about USD 40-50 to buy (wholesale), it is the marketing that makes the difference. And while the Kindle is not protected in China (if it was it wouldn't matter much. Even if you hold a patent or trademark in China enforcement is very difficult, especially for a foreign company without a local partner) a knock-off product could not be sold in Amazon's target markets.

Last edited by HansTWN; 07-13-2009 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:18 PM   #27
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HansTWN:

1. From my experience living in China, and experience of China through my Chinese husband, most people use Pinyin for input to computers and phones. This may vary by region or group, I don't know. It doesn't really matter.

2. I don't mean to say that everything made in China is grade A quality. The expertise and resources are available, and if a company wants to turn out a top-grade product they certainly can. We don't see many of the best quality knockoffs within the US, but I've seen some very good quality knockoffs or look-a-likes. Most of these stay in China and are often sold as the "real thing." I am not as familiar with industrial applications, such as the embroidery machine, but consumer products such as clothes, bags, phones, mp3's, etc, can be found as good quality knockoffs. As China increases in prosperity, there will be more people willing and able to pay for quality.

That being said, of course there are still flagrant examples of the cheap, shoddy, and the outright corrupt. The milk scandal is an example and I don't mean to defend that in any way, it is despicable.

3. I agree with you here. I mentioned China Inc. because it is in sync with my experiences in China. It is indeed still a long way up, and with the rise of the Yuan and the state of the US economy, people are not willing to settle for cheap junk anymore. I only wanted to make the point that, although there's plenty of junk in China, there are plenty of Chinese products, (not US products made in China) that are worth having.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:29 PM   #28
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I did not mean to make a blanket statement. I wanted to say that Chinese product quality overall at this moment is still very low. There are exceptions, of course, in a country as big as it is, a few exceptions make for already quite a large number of companies!

But remember that industrial production is the basis for all goods. A company that uses the lousiest production equipment cannot really make great products. A lot of room for improvement here, believe me.

Last edited by HansTWN; 07-14-2009 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:19 PM   #29
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Yes, I agree, there's definitely room for improvement!
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:34 AM   #30
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Remember, the company has been awarded a patent that protects the look and feel of the Kindle shell.
A US patent, which is meaningless in China.
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