New ereader developments abounded in early May with the announcement that Barnes & Noble’s Nook received a $300 million investment from Microsoft, prompting much speculation about what new products and technology this partnership might bring. Though Nook and Microsoft might mean some interesting developments in the US market, many other ereader companies have turned their attention to the international market, which is still very much up for grabs with Amazon’s local Kindle stores in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK (with a recent announcement that Waterstone’s will soon be carrying the Kindle), as well as Sony and Kobo’s entrance into the European market. Especially with BEA quickly approaching and whispers of a big announcement from Kobo on 6/5, the competition continues to be fierce.
So who’s coming out ahead, and who’s lagging behind in this competition of ereaders? Read on to make your own call.
“B&N has contributed significantly to the commoditization of eInk readers. There’s really nothing to distinguish one from the others these days. Yes, I like having the light built into my Nook but Amazon and others will undoubtedly offer the same feature soon too.
B&N CEO William Lynch needs to focus on answering this one important question: Why would someone want to buy a Nook over a Kindle? If their answer is ‘because we have GlowLight’ he might as well just fold up his tent and go home now.”
– Joe Wikert, Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog (5/29/2012)
“NFC chips haven’t really taken off in the US yet. Overseas people use the Near Field Communication technology to use their smartphones as credit or debit cards. But in the US, they aren’t common enough to use very often even if you have a phone with an NFC chip and Google Wallet installed.
But Barnes & Noble could be one of the first US companies to do something moderately useful with an NFC chip. The company plans to add NFC capabilities to future NOOK eBook readers.”
– Liliputing (5/1/2012)
“Since Target stores began selling Amazon’s Kindle line back in 2010, the devices have always appeared to do well; the Kindle Fire was even the retailer’s best-selling tablet during Black Friday last year. It appears that’s about to change, however, with a source telling us that the company is going to stop carrying the line of products due to a ‘conflict of interest.’ According to an internal Target memo we’ve received, the company will be removing Amazon hardware from its locations starting this month. Certain accessories will remain in stock, but shipments of Kindles themselves will cease as of May 13th.”
– Bryan Bishop, The Verge (5/2/2012)
“I observed that [Amazon Tablet’s share falling] must mean that the Amazon Tablet (the Kindle Fire) is something people will buy as a gift over the holidays, but won’t buy themselves to actually use.
When people are buying tablets for themselves, they buy Apple’s iPad.”
– Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider (5/3/2012)
“Best overall e-ink reader: Barnes & Noble Simple Touch with GlowLight. The latest version of the Nook Simple Touch is the only e-ink model that offers self-illumination — and we think that’s a pretty killer feature. It’s also a great touch-screen e-reader, and — unlike most versions of the Kindle — it’s ad-free.”
– John P. Falcone, CNET (5/5/2012)
“The Sony Reader WIFI or PRS-T1 originally went on sale in Europe back in October 2011. Since that time they have sold close to 500,000 units in the UK, France, Spain, Germany and other major markets. It is said that Sony now controls around 35% of the entire eReader market in Europe.”
– Michael Kozlowski, Good Ereader (5/25/2012)
“If you’re reading this and you’re an avid e-book reader, odds are overwhelming that you use either the Kindle or Nook apps to do so on your Android device. But also-ran Kobo is making a case for itself with the fourth version of its Android e-reader app, available today in the Google Play Store. Like its counterparts, you don’t need a Kobo device to use the app – it’s good to go on any Android smartphone or tablet.”
– Michael Crider, Android Community (5/25/2012)