Monthly Archives: November 2011

Tablet News Aggregators

As tablets become more of a increasingly popular household fixture, the companies that package content for the devices continue make their own upgrades. Flipboard, often seen as the top dog among news aggregation apps, recently added an iPhone app, multiple accounts and larger social media footprint. Meantime, some new apps have rolled out or gained momentum, including Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Livestand, News Republic, NewsMix and News360. They’re going up against players like Zite, Pulse, Ongo and Float. Here’s an update to our chart from September that includes all the latest changes from the new-style news aggregators.

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Filed under Android, Apple, BlackBerry, epaper, iPad, Magazine, Newspaper, Tablet

Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition

Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite is now available in three editions: Single Edition, Professional Edition, and Enterprise Edition. All three editions share the same core functionality, while adding additional capabilities tailored to the needs of the publisher.

Adobe Official Page:

Single Edition provides small to midsize design studios and freelance designers an intuitive way to deliver brochures, catalogs, portfolios, training materials, and books to the iPad, without having to rely on the services of a developer. Use familiar Adobe InDesign® CS5 or CS5.5 skills to explore new creative territory, and offer extended design services to clients.


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Dupont OLED Printing Process

In May 2010 Dupont announced that they reached the goal to print a 50 inch OLED-Tv in under two minutes. In October 2011 Duponts announced that the company has signed a technology licensing agreement for that technology with a leading Asian manufacturer of Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode display products. We think that it can be Samsung or LG-Display but at the moment it is not clear and not official. Duponts suggest that OLED is the next generation display technology which requires fewer components than LCDs and can utilize existing LCD infrastructure for as much as 30 percent overall cost savings.

Solution Process AMOLED Technology
How we can reach the goal to produce cheap OLED-Television device for the consumer market?
To reduce the manufacturing costs Dupont has developed a proprietary solution based printing technology that efficiently dispenses liquid OLED materials.

AMOLED television market is projected to grow to over $5 billion by 2017.

What about the lifetime?
Printed lifetimes are quoted at subpixel luminances that simulate 200-nit FOS white brightness. Even for blue, the most challenging color, lifetime exceeds 30,000 hours and should be sufficient for many display applications, including OLED TV.

Benefits of DuPont solution process:

  • Lower material and equipment cost
  • Scalable to larger glass size

Low cost manufacturing scheme attributes:

  • Use of inexpensive common layers
  • Increase throughput and yield by limiting the number
    of patterned layers
  • No fine shadowmasks

Balancing performance and cost:

  • Common layers optimized for overall performance of
    panel, not individual color

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Filed under AMOLED, Color, epaper, OLED, Print

Kyobo 6-inch eReader with Mirasol color e-paper display

Mirasol displays promise the best of both worlds: the energy efficiency and ultra-clear text of black-and-white ePaper displays like those found on the Kindle and Nook eReaders, combined with the full array of colors you find on a traditional tablet like the iPad or Kindle Fire. Up until now, unfortunately, no device has ever actually made its way to retail outlets sporting the video-capable Mirasol display. Around this time two years ago, Qualcomm announced that a Mirasol color eReader would be available in time for the holiday season in 2010.

Two years after that announcement, Kyobo’s tablet is up for sale in Korea. The Kyobo eReader goes for $310, and its makers boast “weeks” of runtime. It’s powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a 5.7-inch color touchscreen display that runs at a resolution of 1024×768. Android 2.3 provides the software base.

Two years after that announcement, Kyobo’s tablet is up for sale in Korea. The Kyobo eReader goes for $310, and its makers boast “weeks” of runtime. It’s powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a 5.7-inch color touchscreen display that runs at a resolution of 1024×768. Android 2.3 provides the software base.

Just over $300 for a color tablet with an energy-sipping e-Ink display that will run for weeks doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But there’s an asterisk to be added. That’s only possible with reduced display brightness and a 30 minute per day cap on your tablet use, so really you’re talking about 7 to 10 hours of actual activity and loads of stand-by time. Those are still pretty good marks, and at least someone has had the gumption to put a Mirasol display in a tablet and start selling it.

As for whether or not bigger manufacturers will follow suit, we’ll just have to cross our fingers. Maybe that 8.9-inch Kindle Fire update will sport a Mirasol display, too.

Kyobo, South Korea’s largest bookstore chain, is launching the first e-reader to use Qualcomm’s Mirasol technology. It has a color screen that can apparently be read even in bright sunlight, with a long battery life. E-books make up around 15 percent of trade book sales in South Korea, second only to the United States.

Kyobo’s touchscreen Android e-reader will sell for 349,000 South Korean won (U.S. $310). It “includes access to Kyobo’s 90,000 ebook library, notably including early rights from Korean publisher Minumsa for the much-anticipated Steve Jobs’ exclusive biography, a full one-month before any other Korean digital outlet,” according to the press release.

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Filed under Color, epaper

Major Publishers Using Many Apps

The tablet magazine opportunity is not all about iPad apps.

Although nearly half of U.S. magazine publishers have launched iPad apps, about the same proportion are also on the Nook device’s Newsstand and Zinio’s cross-platform newsstand.

That is according to The State Of The App, a report by McPheters & Company comprised from its iMonitor database of information about 4,000 news and magazine apps.

That makes Nook Newsstand and Zinio the second most popular platform for publishers after iOS (not including the web). And Nook added the most publishers between May and August.

Where does that leave Android apps? Still languishing. only 21 percent of U.S. magazine publishers are currently distributing through Android apps, according to McPheters.

However, it may be true to say that other platforms like Nook and Zinio are more likely to play host to replica page-turners than dedicated interactive app editions, as iPad editions are.

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Filed under Amazon, Android, Barnes & Noble, Color, iPad, Magazine, Print, Tablet

KOBO Introduces $99 Ad Supported Device

Even as the major e-reader players battle for the great middle of the $200-$250 color tablet market, the scuffle continues on the low end for cheap e-readers. Perennial also-ran in the reader race Kobo has introduced a Kobo Touch with Offers device that retails for $99.99 and carries ad messages.

“Kobo Touch with Offers is just like the Kobo Touch eReader, but includes valuable offers and sponsored screens in discrete places outside of the reading experience,” explains the product description at Kobo’s sales site. The Kobo Touch without ads sells for $139.99.

Kobo is mimicking the model for low-end e-readers introduced by Amazon earlier this year with the Kindle with Special Offers that sold for less than the standard Kindle device. Kobo specifies that sponsor messages and promotions will appear when the device is in sleep mode and may also be present “on the bottom of your home screen.” On the corresponding Kindle unit, the sponsors appear as screen savers when the unit is idle.

The Kobo unit has a 6-inch black-and-white e-ink display, so advertisers will be limited to a narrow range of 16 shades of grey. But because it is touch-enabled, it is conceivable that a home page banner ad could click through to an even richer ad experience.

Kobo Touch with Offers is competing against the recently price-reduced Amazon Kindle Touch with Special Offers, now at $99, and the Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch at $99. The low-end Nook distinguishes itself in the market by matching Kobo and Amazon’s price point without including ads. Kobo is trying to position itself as an alternative to the big two booksellers with a larger library, greater access to free titles and an open model that customers read anything they buy from Kobo on any open reading device. The e-reader can access 2.2 million books in the Kobo library.

This will be a very big holiday season for e-readers, IDC projects. The company raised its prediction for 2011 sales from 16.2 million units to 27 million. In Q2 IDC estimated that Amazon controlled 51.7% of the market, with Barnes & Noble at 21.2%.

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Kobo Aquired by Rakuten

E-bookseller and e-reader company Kobo is being acquired by Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten for $315 million. The company says it will continue to expand in the U.S., while growing its international market share through Rakuten. Look for upcoming partnerships with fellow Rakuten-owned company, as well as a Japanese-language Kobo e-reader sometime next year.

Kobo was founded by and spun out of Indigo, the largest book, gift and specialty toy retailer in Canada, in December, 2009. Since that time, Kobo has become a fierce competitor in the eBook marketplace, with a family of innovative eReaders, a wide range of eReading apps, one of the largest eBook catalogues, an innovative social platform and retail partners around the globe.

The acquisition marks a major step forward for Rakuten, one of the world’s top 3 e-commerce companies by revenue, as it continues to expand its unique B2B2C borderless e-commerce business globally, by adding an ecosystem to provide downloadable media products to consumers, starting with eBooks.

Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, commented on the acquisition, “We are very excited about this next step. Kobo provides one of the world’s most communal eBook reading experiences with its innovative integration of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter; while Rakuten offers Kobo unparalleled opportunities to extend its reach through some of the world’s largest regional e-commerce companies, including in the US, Tradoria in Germany, Rakuten Brazil, Rakuten Taiwan, Lekutian in China, TARAD in Thailand, and Rakuten Belanja Online in Indonesia, and of course, Rakuten Ichiba in Japan.”

“From a business and cultural perspective this is a perfect match,” commented Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis. “We share a common vision of creating a content experience that is both global and social. Rakuten is already one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, while Kobo is the most social eBook service on the market and one of the world’s largest eBook stores with over 2.5 million titles. This transaction will greatly strengthen our position in our current markets and allow us to diversify quickly into other countries and e-commerce categories.”

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Filed under Book, Color, epaper, Magazine, Tablet

Barnes & Noble – Nook Tablet

Launched at an event in New York, the Nook Tablet pits Barnes & Noble more directly against Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s forthcoming Kindle Fire, set to go on sale next week. Priced at $249, the Nook Tablet is $50 more than the 7-inch Kindle Fire, but still half the cost of the 10-inch iPad.

The Nook Tablet, which closely resembles the Nook Color, will hit stores around November 17, just days after the Kindle Fire. Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch focused particularly on the head-to-head competition with the Amazon device during his presentation. For example, he noted that the Nook Tablet’s 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB internal storage is twice that of the Fire, as well as providing a superior display via its VividView technology.

The device will come pre-loaded with Netflix and Hulu Plus, highlighting Barnes & Noble’s confidence in the Nook Tablet’s ability to stream (at 720p) and store movies and TV shows. For its part, Amazon has stressed cloud storage for the Kindle Fire.

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Filed under Android, Barnes & Noble, Book, Color, Tablet

Book Publishers Digital Revenue

Publisher (Parent Company) Earnings Period Book Publishing Revenues (Change*) Digital Revenues (Change*) Digital As %Age Of Total Book Sales
Simon & Schuster (CBS) Q3 2011 $220 million (+1%) Not broken out (“more than doubled”) 17%
HarperCollins (News Corp.) Q3 2011 Not broken out Not broken out N/A. Print books sold in brick-and-mortar stores accounted for 71% of sales in the U.S., 77% worldwide
Penguin (Pearson) First 9 months of 2011 Not broken out; “level with 2010.” First 6 months of year: ?457 million Not broken out. First 6 months of year: Up 128% In first 6 months of year, e-book sales represented 14% of sales worldwide
Harlequin (Torstar) Q3 2011 C$115.7 million (-1.5% due to foreign exchange rates) Increased by C$7.5 million 15.8% worldwide
Bloomsbury 6-month period ending 8/31/11 ?44.9 million (+16%) ?2.5 (+564%) 5.5% (U.S. and UK)
Scholastic children’s trade books Q1 2012 (ending 8/31/11) Children’s trade books: $59.6 million (+10%) Not broken out N/A
John Wiley & Sons professional/trade books Q1 2012 (ending 7/31/11) Professional/trade books: $100 million (+0.4%) $11 million (+175%) 11%
Hachette Book Group (Lagardere) First half of 2011 Lagard?re Publishing worldwide (U.S., UK, Australia, France, Spain): ?900 million (-7.7%) Not broken out 20% (U.S.), 8% (UK); 5% of Lagardere Publishing revenues worldwide
Random House (Bertelsmann) First half of 2011 Random House worldwide: ?787 million (-0.5%) Not broken out, but “triple-digit percentage sales growth in e-books” Over 20% in the U.S.

*Change from same period last year

Sources:, publishers’ financial reports,

Compiled by Laura Hazard Owen, 11/4/2011

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Glowing e-Paper Reader Screens

The eBook Reader points out a newish technology being pitched as the next step in passive displays. Flex Lighting makes an extremely thin layer (0.05mm thick) that allows light from hidden LEDs to be distributed evenly over its whole surface. The light is directed towards the screen itself, it seems, which is certainly necessary for a reflective-type display. It only needs one or two LEDs, so battery draw is minimal, and the extreme thinness and flexibility make it work in practically any display stack.

The technology has existed for ages, but they claim their new method is both thinner and superior to existing implementations. I’ll believe it when I see it, personally: this sounds pretty sweet, but how it performs in real life is all that matters. Will it be too dim? Too bright? Will people even want it? Is it expensive? Hopefully these guys will have a booth at CES and we can drop by and check out their technology in person.

How it works:

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