latest research from Informa Telecoms & Media, sales of e-readers with broadband connections will peak in 2014, as users decide to opt for multi-purpose devices like the iPad. According to Informa, the best way for e-reader manufacturers to survive is to focus on cheap devices that don't feature built-in wireless connectivity.Dedicated e-readers like Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook are coming under increasing pressure from mobile phones and tablet devices like the iPad. According to the
The Real Question: E-Paper or LCD Displays?
Many readers swear by e-paper displays that look and "feel" more like regular paper than traditional computer displays. These e-paper displays don't need backlighting and consume far less power than tablets that use back-lighted displays. A number of e-paper manufacturers are working hard on developing color displays with faster refresh rates that will allow Kindle-like devices to compete with the feature set of tablets.
The question, of course, is if users will really flock to low-end e-readers or if they will opt for more expensive multi-purpose devices like the iPad instead. In the near future, some of these tablets will likely feature more advanced e-paper displays that will combine the best of both worlds, though they will probably cost about the same as an iPad.
The Disadvantages of Dedicated E-Readers
For now, however, these advanced displays aren't ready for the consumer market, while tablets are getting more market share and iPad apps like Wired's new magazine app get a chance to show the advantages of tablet computers. A number of universities have experimented with the Kindle as a textbook reader, and it's quickly becoming clear that today's e-readers aren't ready for this market, as students ask for a more flexible devices that are more akin to tablet computers than a dedicated e-readers.
This study comes on the same day that Sony announced its plans to expand the availability of its e-reader to Japan, China, Australia and a number of European countries. Asia is one of the fastest growing markets for e-readers, so this move definitely makes sense. With its low-end e-readers, Sony will be in a good position if Informa's predictions turn out to be true.