CES E-Readers Suggest Oversaturated Market
E-readers from a variety of manufacturers, including Spring Design, Skiff and Plastic Logic, made an appearance at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Although e-readers from both large companies such as Amazon.com and smaller IT startups have proliferated, and the devices were considered a hot seller during the 2009 holiday season, some analysts have deemed e-reading to ultimately be a niche market. If that proves the case, many of the manufacturers present at CES could find themselves squeezed as the market reaches its saturation point.E-readers were one of the hot items at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which devoted a section in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center to the devices. While that may brighten the prospects for e-reading as a phenomenon, the number of device manufacturers at CES hints that the relatively new market may already be reaching some sort of saturation point. If that happens, the number of e-readers and related software applications currently in the ecosystem could be rapidly winnowed down-certainly not all these devices, boasting similar functionality and price points, as well as access to many of the same e-book libraries, can expect to survive.
Start with Plastic Logic, the startup that formally unveiled its Que e-reader, targeted at mobile professionals such as business travelers, on Jan. 7. Marketed as a device capable of downloading and displaying thousands of personal and business documents on its 10.7-inch screen, the Que has a high price point to go along with its executive-suite focus: A 4GB device with Wi-Fi and enough storage for 35,000 documents has a retail price of $649, while an 8GB version with Wi-Fi, 3G and enough storage for 75,000 documents is priced at $799.