The ereader market is off to a strong start in 2010, and only in 2nd month of year, it has shown nothing but excitement. From ebook price battles, to frantically produced ereaders that are designed to fiercely compete with the current market leader, the Amazon Kindle, calm waters aren’t in sight as yet. Here are some predictions for the rest of the year.
With the recent unveiling of Apple’s iPad, the market will continually see gadgets that will take a bite out of the ereader industry. Multi-purpose gadgets are in demand, and it looks as though the market will shift that way. Mobile phones and netbooks are headed for revamps to accommodate dual E-ink/LCD screens which will also create new software and marketing tactics.
Speaking of the e-ink technology, will we finally get some color in our reading experience? Perhaps by the end of the year, Amazon will eliminate the Kindle keyboard, and release the next generation that features colored touch screens with floppy flexibility. Eliminating the glass back pane will not only give flexibility, but will make the gadget less prone to breaking.
And with regards to e-ink again, will the company lose its market share due to other technologies? It is true that consumers like the e-ink screen for handheld ebook reading devices, but cheaper versions may be on the way, or completely different technology such as transflective LCD or OLED.
Will Barnes & Noble steal part of the market share from Amazon and Sony? 2009 was a strong set-up year for B & N. They bought Fictionwise and launched their own eBookstore. Additionally, consumers found reading apps for their mobile phone and PC. The sales of the Nook soared, and in fact, sold out. They will be Amazon’s strongest competition, but the Kindle will hold tight, and Sony will stay in the running with new gadgets, software updates, and a better buying experience.
Despite Amazon’s pulse with the Kindle DX, college students might have to wait for the electronic textbook. Students at Northwestern and at Suffolk University stated complaints about an e-textbook trial run with the Kindle DX. Complaints ranged from shortcomings of the device to lack of content. Students would probably dig deep into their pocket for an ereader that can handle a textbook, but the publisher’s aren’t ready to sell due to decisions on how to sell and display the content.
With the recent release of the Kindle DX with Global Wireless, hopefully growth in the international market will occur. I can see though, that Americans will remain to be the top consumers of this ever-changing niche. It will be exciting to see how companies compete this year, in addition to how publishers will react and attempt hold on control on ebooks.
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