In the Ebook Reader War, Sony Should Fold

Posted by Zealot on Sep 16, 2010

closeThis post was published 3 years 7 months 6 days ago which may make its actuality or expire date not be valid anymore. This site is not responsible for any misunderstanding.

500x_sonyereaderthreeeeWell, maybe it is more  that Sony should roll. What do I mean? Well, the main problem that Sony has been facing in trying to be taken seriously in the current slapfight between Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble is that they really don’t have anything innovative to bring to the table. The Sony Reader line aren’t full-fledged tablets like the iPad, they aren’t backed by world class bookstores like the Kindle and the Nook, they aren’t well known by consumers for being in the ebook game. The only advantage they have is that they all have touchscreens…but I mean really, touchscreens in 2010? YAAWWWNNNNNNN….I know refrigerators these days that have multitouch. Whoopdy do. On top of having no compelling feature, and not many books to offer, Sony is STILL Sony and refuses to drop their prices significantly so their ebook readers are boring, empty and expensive…triple threats.

However, competition is a good thing, and I don’t want Sony to throw in the towel just yet in the Ebook war. They are still a great company with great build quality and lots to offer. People who own Sony Readers from when they were nearly the only Ebook Reader available tend to love them…it is just that there is not much reason for new buyers to buy them in todays crowded market. However, all is not lost Sony….I have a plan and it does involve rolling

First, Sony should forget about this holiday season. Their main point of sale, Best Buy, will now also be selling Kindles, Nooks and iPads towards Christmas….that makes the current Sony Readers road kill. They should not waste any money on trying to sell the current crop of Readers, pull them off the shelves if need be. Focus on Vaios and Bravias and Playstation 3s…you know, stuff you can actually sell.

Rather then wasting money and energy trying to sell the current Readers, pull them back to the drawing board and focus absurd amounts of research money on THIS…

sony2_10-450x337

Yes, a flexible, rollable e-paper display.

This is a display of prototype flexible electronic paper display technology that was tucked away in a corner of the invite-only 2010 Dealer Convention held in Shinagawa, Tokyo. This was not a press event, this was a chance for Sony to show off the stuff they wanted dealers to push in the coming year, and most of the noise was about 3D. This little gem went largely unnoticed.

E-paper as we know them use glass substrate but glass is..well..glass. Heavy, breakable, fragile, brittle, inflexible. A glass jaw, a glass house, a glass ceiling..none of these are good things. This prototype however uses a flexible plastic substrate. It is durable, malleable, not prone to damage, easy to modify. It is so flexible it an actually be rolled. Imagine THIS as a display on an ebook reader for a start, but there are lots of devices a flexible e-paper display could revolutionize. ID badges, watches, greeting cards, newspapers, signs and posters, an MP3 player with an unrollable screen for video, a computer screen that REALLY scrolls…the upside of this is enormous, and it can all start with a new generation of ebook readers.

1000x-1-450x387

Sony, you own this prototype, and you have thousands and thousands of scientists and research labs. Double, triple, quadruple your investment in this technology, make it a priority…and make a new set of Readers the way you introduce Sony Electric Paper to the world, next Christmas. I promise you that Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble will still be squabbling over LCD vs E-ink, and color vs grayscale next year at this time. This would be a way for you to bring something really new and unique to the table, and the Ebook Reader War would give you an excuse to develop a technology you could use as the core of thousands of new, typically overpriced, must-have devices. Flexible Electric Paper could be your new Walkman, it could make you bleeding edge relevant again and revolutionize ebook readers….if you have the guts to make it happen.

Please do it.

For me.

backgammon online | chest pain right side

Zealot (839 Posts) - Website | Twitter | Facebook


By day a department manager and writer for a major network device vendor...by night Zealot stalks the mean magnetic streets, striking fear into the hearts of bandwidth abusers and theme park mascots. Zealot has been involved with mobile devices for more than a decade now, starting off with dumb phones, moving to PDAs and then to smartphones, notebooks and netbooks with the odd PMP thrown in. Most of his mobile time currently is spent on a Treo Pro, Zune HD, Thinkpad T61, HP Mini 311, iPod Touch 3G, iPad 16G or a Hackintoshed Compaq Mini 704. He proudly groks the Geek community and considers himself a Neo Maxi Zune Dweebie (thanks Wil Wheaton!).

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  • http://www.svpocketpc.com Pony99CA

    I don't know about the claim that they aren't well-known by consumers. Besides Best Buy, they're sold in Target (or at least they were; I don't know if they still are now that Target carries the Kindle) and Fry's Electronics. Just last week, the Fry's weekend ad listed the Sony Daily Reader (the bigger 7″ one) for $200.

    Until recently, when Amazon started selling in stores, I wouldn't be surprised if Sony's readers got more eyeballs due to brick-and-mortar presence than the Kindle did.

    Steve

  • davidbrake

    This tech has been promised from early on but never delivered. It would indeed be for me the compelling reason to get an ebook reader.

  • Thishouseis

    My ultimate is a flexible e-reader with a Mirasol type display (color, high refresh rate, ultra-low power consumption). But until then my second choice is the new Sony line of touch readers. What's boring about a touch reader where you can add freehand notes? I think iPad does that, and of course your refrigerator. Must be kinda hard lugging that thing around to read books though.

  • cgavula

    Until or unless they get the backing of a major bookstore they will remain little more than a niche product in the eBook market. Just like with digital music, it requires a decent end-to-end ecosystem of some sort to make it workable and Sony is lacking on one end of that equation – content – huge problem! I don't care if they have a flexible screen product or not – I'm not even sure I see that as a major plus anyway (although smaller and thinner would be a plus). Point is without a LOT more content they can't be anything but a niche player.

  • http://www.svpocketpc.com Pony99CA

    I don't know about the claim that they aren't well-known by consumers. Besides Best Buy, they're sold in Target (or at least they were; I don't know if they still are now that Target carries the Kindle) and Fry's Electronics. Just last week, the Fry's weekend ad listed the Sony Daily Reader (the bigger 7″ one) for $200.

    Until recently, when Amazon started selling in stores, I wouldn't be surprised if Sony's readers got more eyeballs due to brick-and-mortar presence than the Kindle did.

    Steve

  • http://www.svpocketpc.com Pony99CA

    I agree, Chris. That and the lack of any wireless opitons are big problems. I just didn't think product placement was a big problem for Sony.

    Steve

  • Barry

    +1 on this. I think you are right on target with this line of thinking (remember the rolable displays in the movie Red Planet, well this could be the beginning of that technology road)

    -Barry

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