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Posted on November 5, 2009 by  & 

Competition fierce in e-reader market

Spring Design to sue Barnes & Noble

Competition in the e-reader market is fierce and one company in particular is attracting unwanted attention. According to recent press announcements, start-up company Spring Design who released details of there e-reader a day before the nook say that the features on Barnes and Noble's nook is too close to its Alex e-reader. Both devices feature two screens and run on Google's Android operating system.
CNET News reported that according to the lawsuit, Spring Design said it is seeking "preliminary and permanent injunctive relief... restraining and enjoining B&N from use or disclosure of Spring's confidential information or trade secrets, including the sale of the nook." They also reported, "In the lawsuit, Spring Design says it showed its plans for the Alex to Barnes & Noble, who showed interest in the product but gave no indication it was working on a similar device."

Solar powered e-reader

Hopefully the sun will shine brighter for LG Display. They unveiled a solar powered e-reader which when charged by the sun, could extend battery life by an extra day.
The lightweight thin-film solar cell featured in the e-reader is 10cm x 10cm and at 0.7mm thick is thinner than a credit card. It can extend the reader's battery time by four to five hours, which is done by placing electrodes onto a glass or plastic substrate. Size can easily be adjusted for other electronic devices such as mobile phones.
Although the current energy conversion efficiency rate is around 9.6 percent, the company hope to raise this to 12% by 2010, and eventually achieve efficiency rate of 14% in 2012 to prepare for commercialization.
Mr. Ki Yong Kim, head of the Solar Cell Office at LG Display said in a recent statement, "E-books are attracting a lot of attention because they offer the advantage of storing thousands of books' worth of contents in an easy-to-carry device. The idea of e-book combined with solar cell will offer users the added benefit of longer usage."

Others jumping on the bandwagon

Tyre company Bridgestone also unveiled their "Quick-response Liquid Powder" all-color touchscreen e-book reader in Tokyo last month. Trials are expected to begin at the Kansai Urban Banking Corp early next year.
Another company to jump into the fast moving e-reader market is Chipmaker Marvell Technology Group who has teamed up with E-Ink to create a system on chip solution, which will provide cheaper, thinner and lighter e-readers with additional features that save power and extend battery life including a unique hibernation mode, or zero power mode. The two companies have also joined forces with FirstPaper, LLC. Gil Fuchsberg, President of FirstPaper recently said, "To enable great newspaper and magazine reading experiences, e-reading devices need the right tools to make richer layouts and complex content come to life. We're excited to be working with Marvell to bring such tools to the market."
The technology is already being used in the recently announced Alex reader from Spring Design, the enTourage eDGe - a combination e-reader and netbook and Plastic Logic's Que.

Authored By:

Business Development Director, Research

Posted on: November 5, 2009

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