So sales of tablets will soon overtake those of PCs, according to the new figures from IDC. But one mobile device that isn’t surging is the ereader.
Sales of ereaders, such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, seemed to have peaked – with sales currently declining faster than even those of PCs. Only 16m ereaders will be sold this year, Gartner estimates, down from 24m in 2011 and 18m in 2012. Gartner cut its forecasts for future shipments by nearly half earlier this year.
Ereaders face two big problems.
The release of Amazon’s Kindle DX black-and-white eReader a year ago was also meant to presage a new era of colour for the devices. E Ink, provider of the screen’s technology, had improved the contrast by 50 per cent with this new “Pearl” display to ensure viewing would not be dimmed too much when it laid a filter on top to add colour to eReaders. But, a year on, it seems device makers are sticking to black and white due to dissatisfaction with E Ink’s solution.
Plastic Logic, best known for its pricey, delayed and now abandoned Que eReader, has received a significant investment from a Russian state-owned nanotechnology corporation.
As we predicted when reporting talks in August, Plastic Logic is to open a factory in Russia to make its next-generation plastic electronics displays as part of the deal with the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.
Rusnano is putting more than $100m into the company for a “hefty” minority stake, according to a source close to the deal.
A new breed of publishing services on the web are rapidly expanding their offerings to fresh markets and devices.
Docstoc, which allows the sharing of professional documents, opened its DocStore to individuals on Tuesday, while Scribd, its larger rival, announced on Wednesday easier ways of making its documents accessible on eReaders and other mobile devices.
Sony has been thrilled with sales of its eReaders over the Christmas period, but could their comparative success be about to be eclipsed by the arrival of an Apple tablet?
We’ll know better later today but, in the meantime, I have been trying out the new Sony Reader Daily Edition for the past three weeks to see if it is as hot as the news it provides.
Sony had a bestseller of a Christmas with its Reader devices in the US, according to executives here at CES in Las Vegas, and Qualcomm is expecting to spice up the market with colour displays in 2010.
December sales of the Reader were four times the value of the previous year, eReaders were the biggest growth area for Sony Electronics in the run up to Christmas and had the largest unit volume of all its products, according to Steve Haber, president of its digital reading division.
The futurist Ray Kurzweil has come up with a major advance on eReader software that consumers can try out as early as next month.
Blio, available free for the PC and iPhone, offers features such as 3D page turns and a bookshelf where readers can rotate books to see backcover and spine.
Sony appears to have been surprised by demand for its new Reader Daily Edition and may not be able to satisfy orders in time for Christmas.
Pre-sale orders opened today for the eReader and Sony is expected to announce newspaper and magazine content partners in about three weeks’ time. But Steve Haber, president of its digital reading division, told us Sony could not guarantee delivery by Christmas to those ordering early.
In this week’s FT techtalk, whatever was under discussion, it was hard to avoid bringing Apple into the conversation.
A blow-out quarter, new products, fresh Android competition for the iPhone and Nokia launching a legal strike – Apple is in everyone’s sights.
We also looked at the latest eReaders (yes, we’re sure there’s an Apple one coming as well) and assessed whether they are ready to be bestsellers with consumers or end up in the remainders pile.
And we reported live as Microsoft issued its first-quarter earnings.
Read the multimedia transcript below and join us live again next Friday for FT techtalk, a multimedia chat with the FT’s tech correspondents.