e-Readers in 2010
We predict a big year ahead for e-readers. Amazon should continue to dominate but if Barnes and Noble can recover from a rocky start, things could get interesting.

  • Look for things to heat up in the book format battle. Sony has just switched from a proprietary format to the open ePub format. Amazon will most likely stick with their proprietary AZW format but may accommodate open formats somehow.
  • Color e-readers are under development in the labs but who knows when they'll see the light of day, at least an E Ink version.
  • The rumored Apple tablet could be a big game changer if consumers are willing to pay the premium and prefer a multimedia device. The iTunes Book Store should open for business this year.
  • Flexible e-ink displays have been demonstrated at trade shows. Imagine being able to unroll or unfold an electronic version of your local newspaper and download the funnies.
  • More e-reader manufacturers will offer a variety of sizes, styles and prices. There is already a list of e-reader venders like ECTACO and Astak with inexpensive readers. Asus is rumored to be developing a dual screen color reader.

This has been a good year for e-readers. Amazon launched the Kindle 2 (now just called the Kindle) which addressed some of the ergonomic complaints like a problem with the page turning button. Amazon also launched a larger screen Kindle called the DX. Sony introduced a new line of readers but the one most likely to compete with the Kindle, the Sony Reader Daily Edition with a 7 inch screen and 3G connectivity started shipping December. Barnes and Noble's entry into the field had a rocky start with a poorly reviewed reader called the Nook.

Going to Be a Hot Product
Whoever ends up with the lion's share of the e-reader market should have a good year. A recent Retrevo study found 21% of the respondents indicating they were planning on buying an e-reader this year.
Sony vs. Amazon
Sony has been trying for a while to create a hit e-reader. They recently launched a small, medium, and large version of a new e-reader. We'll be watching how the new Sony readers, Barnes and Noble Nook, and others from companies like Spring Design, IREX and Plastic Logic. When we asked e-reader buyers which device they were going to buy Amazon ran away from the pack with 62%.
Apple Tablet Could be an e-Book Reader Competitor
An Apple tablet announcement now appears to be immanent. Rumors have been circulating all year about a handheld device bigger than an iPhone and smaller than a MacBook. Could a backlit, LCD-based multi-media device compete with E Ink devices with their super-long battery life and book-like reflective displays?
Follow the Retrevo Pulse
You can check out the up-to-the-minute demand and price indices for all popular consumer electronics categories at Retrevo.com. You’ll find insight and trends on the state of the consumer electronics industry.
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Jennifer Jacobson
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