Mar 152010

With over 50 plus potential new e-readers, tablet pc, and slate type devices flooding the market in 2010, the landscape is rich with consumer choices which will redefine the e-reader market.  Apple has set the bar high for incumbents (e.g. Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Sony PRS) and new comers.  This post explores the impact of Apple’s entrance into the space.

Amazon with the Kindle is the current leader in the e-reader niche and is responding aggressively with Kindle development kits for developers, apps for platforms (iPhone, Blackberry, PC, and Android likely next), purchase of touch technology company (Touchco), patent deal with Microsoft, increased revenue sharing with publishers and authors, trying to lower ebooks to $9.99, and hiring developers like crazy for their Kindle development farm.  These defensive initiative wouldn’t have happened as quickly without some healthy competition.

How has Apple’s iPad entrance affected the other competitors?  A couple of potential players are already retreating as Plastic Logic Que and Acer e-Readers have delayed their launch until later this year or distant future and this is likely due to timing as they don’t want to be overshadowed by the iPad.  Waiting for the market to mature is a wise decision at this point.

The increased press in this growing niche has also attracted big players with the likes of Dell (Mini 5 tablet), Samsung and Google (E6 e-book reader), and Microsoft (Courier tablet).  For these tech titans, products in various stages of development are being dust off the shelf and bringing to life ideas that were not so successful in the past.

The iPad has re-energized the market by bringing timely competition and interest.  When we look back a few years from now, this year will be viewed as the year that redefined the e-reader and tablet pc market.  Companies that can bring a device that’s intuitively easy to use, seamless access to rich unique content, and provide unparalleled user experience by combining reading and note taking, gaming, entertainment, and conduct business apps will take the prize for years to come.

Check out our comparison table to see how the iPad, Kindle and other ebook readers compare with each other.

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