The Progress of eBook Readers in 2010

Posted by Dan Ponjican | 8:54 AM | | 0 comments »

2009 saw growth in sales and popularity of eBook readers, although there was still an innate reluctance for people to read from screens rather than paper. 2010 will see a shift in emphasis towards e-ink and paper developments, and the new kids on the block will be offering equipment that the more established Amazon and Sony will work hard to emulate yet alone beat.

There is no doubt that eBook readers are continuing to increase in popularity, although it is believed by many that sales will settle to a background level as most potential users wait for the technology to improve. Although many would like the convenience of an eBook reader and the capability of loading a library of books into one machine, they prefer to wait for improvements in both the e-ink and e-paper technology, and also in the quality of the eReaders.

Many feel that if the Kindle is the best there is then they would rather wait. However, they might perhaps not be waiting too long, because many businesses that believed that portable eBook readers would have a niche clientele at best are now developing their own versions of a technology that is proving to have an unexpectedly large demand.

It looks like sales of eReaders are going to rocket in 2010; that is if the bubbling activity in sales and development planned for the year is anything to go by. It seems that many of the problems that consumers have with eBooks and their readers are being addressed, and that development is not only being restricted just to the production of bigger and better machines, but also to new cutting edge technology. So what's in store for you if you are currently considering the pros and cons of eReaders against the real thing?

The devices themselves are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with companies such as Plastic Logic and Barnes and Noble entering the arena. The latter has just unveiled its 'Nook', which with its multitouch color screen looks hot enough to knock the Kindle of its pedestal. Plastic Logic is entering the market with a business-oriented eReader with 3G connectivity.

The Plastic Logic proReader will be shown to the public at the Consumer Electronics Show on 7th January, 2010 in Las Vegas. With its 8.5 x 11 inch touchscreen, the QUE is the first true business eReader, enabling users to read PDF, Excel, Word and PowerPoint files. As it was described in the article "The QUE e-Reader: The New Kid on the Block", the screen is not only shatterproof, but also capacitive without any loss in sensitivity that such layered screens often show (Digital Book Readers). "The QUE proReader enhances business performance and gives you a competitive edge," according to Plastic Logic's CEO, Richard Archuleta.

In a market currently dominated by Amazon's Kindle, the two computer giants, Apple and Microsoft, are said to be working separately on a multifunctional tablet device that will also offer computer and multimedia functions to their customers. Sony are also rapidly improving their eReader range and the new IREX DR800SD eBook reader goes some way towards helping with the size problem with its 8.1 inch screen.

Many potential users have been put off by the screen size of the earlier products and these new 8 inch+ products are beginning to look very attractive to them. However, apart from increasing wireless connectivity and larger screen sizes, what else should we be looking for in 2010?

Screen size has not been the only problem with newspapers, although some of these will be resolved by 3G technology providing the ability to update quickly without the need for a hard connection. In fact, the concept of digital newspapers is an attractive one to many people, and it is certainly environmentally friendly. Add to that the saving in printing and distribution costs and it is little wonder that many of the larger newspapers are considering trials based upon a 3G and digital subscription model.

Future hardware could involve thin, rollable screens that would convert a large number of people who currently prefer magazine and tabloid formatting. However, given that news is freely available online, the e-News experience would have to offer something special over and above just what can be found on any laptop or palm computer.

Perhaps the new product being developed by Asus might meet the needs of everybody. This eReader is said to have twin color touchscreens that open up just like a hardback book, thus meeting one of the complaints that reading eBook readers with one page open at a time detracts from the reading experience. The eReader will also have a speaker, microphone and webcam, thus enabling Skype videocalls.

In fact, Amazon had better shape up because word has it that the Asus will cost less than the Kindle, and with all the extra features, is liable to jump ahead of it in sales. 2010 might see a massive sea-shift in popularity, particularly if Amazon and Seiko have been resting on their laurels a bit. There is no time for that anymore because the next 12 months will see a massive surge in both R&D and in developments on existing products.

Another of the gripes of genuine book lovers is the appearance of the print. E-ink has gone a long way towards solving this problem, and the continuing development of both ink and e-paper technology by companies other than just Prime View International will lead to improvements in the appearance of eBook reader text and also in prices for the equipment. Early 2010 will bring more competition in this technology that will benefit customers' pockets and their reading experience.

As the popularity of such devices continues to grow, computer and cell phone manufacturers will offer their own equivalents, based on 3G technology and utilising the best e-ink and e-paper technology available to them. Devices will become larger, though still portable, which will involve rollable screens commensurate with the restriction in screen size of portable devices. An increasing number of devices will offer touchscreen throughout 2010, although color screens will not likely be generally available until the year after.

You will also be seeing stores setting aside space just for eBook readers and associated technology. To date, such equipment has been hidden among other miscellaneous electronic applications, but it is now being recognized as a mainstream technology deserving its own promotions.

Finally, don't forget Asia! 2010 will also likely see a significant increase in inexpensive eBook readers from China, Taiwan and other Asian countries. However, it will be the screen and ink technology, and also the range of books, magazines, and eventually newspapers available to users that will ultimately distinguish between those eReaders that sell and those that don't.

This article republished from Article Alley Technology Articles

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