We got an excellent glimpse of potential features for upcoming eReaders at the recently ended 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. Each eReader vendor tries to pull from the crowd with distinguishing features such as color, dual-screens, and screen size, etc. Are these unique features enough to sway potential buyers and capture market share? Features are important, but accounts for only a part of the market puzzle. You may have the best eReader on the market with all the following cool features and still not be the market leader:
- Support WiFi, 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM connectivity
- Dual color screens (11.5 inches each) and dual-mode (LCD and e-Ink)
- Solar or battery powered
- Supports all eBook formats and a few Microsoft applications
- Android OS
This maybe a pipe dream, but the technology is out there!
Other ingredients to be market leader include first mover advantage, market timing, and product promotion. This side of the success equation is not related to the physical eReader product (i.e. software and hardware), but how fast the product gets to the market and the distribution channel to support the product. Amazon provides a great example of success at launching the Kindle. We know the Sony eReader is rated higher than the Kindle, but Amazon’s product out sells everyone else. We also have seen Barnes & Noble struggle with the Nook and their mistakes have proven costly (handing out $100 gift cards for pre-orders that failed to meet Christmas delivery commitment).
In summary, Amazon has proven that you don’t have to have the best eReader in the market to be successful. To be on top of the market, you just have to have a good product (not necessarily the best), get it out there before everyone else, and provide a good marketing campaign!
p.s. We’ll have to throw the above theory out the door when Apple jumps in with an eReader/tablet (mythical iSlate) since they have the Midas touch on eGadgets!