Well, 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…
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.
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.