Home » Cloud client SW platforms » Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel

Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel

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Core information:

Following the strategic alliance between Marvell, Pixel Qi and OLPC on extremely low-cost consumer devices specially built for the cloud there are other cloud related alliances aimed at mass produced clients with sun readability. One of them is the Hanvon – E-Ink alliance which is the most visible and product-wise the most developed one. Such a strategy is also quite well supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy which is mostly based on the Microsoft platform. Its cooperation on the new convertible classmate PC design with Intel is also going sharply against the Marvell, Pixel Qi and OLPC effort. Hanvon’s approach is also well aligned with component technology makers (such as Epson Seiko) tightly cooperating with E-Ink to sharply increase the quality and refresh rate of electrophoretic display (EPD) technology in 2011. See the latest update:  E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 23, 2011]

Worth to read along with this: Gartner: media tablets are the new segment next to mobile PCs and desktops, as well as web- and app-capable mobile phones [April 16, 2011]

Regarding E Ink Holdings’ market position see the Undermining E-Ink and single-purpose E-readers [Aug 23, 2010 – Jan 10, 2011] report. What follows here is mostly summarizing Hanvon’s (Hanwang’s) position and future plans/opportunities.

Hanvon turns to e-book reader solutions combining hardware and software [Dec 28]:

As China-based e-book reader maker Hanvon Technology has recently achieved sales over one million units, the company plans to expand its business model from only selling hardware to providing solutions that combine hardware and software, according to an executive of Hanvon.

Hanvon is optimistic about the sales of e-book readers in 2011 and believes the company will have better shipment growth than the market average. However, the company declined to give a forecast.

Sources from upstream component makers also pointed out that despite consumer purchases of e-book readers in China are in fact increasing, 40% of the e-book reader sales in China are still contributed by government or enterprises, as they are giving the devices away as gifts. Since the contribution from these procurement orders are difficult to estimate, therefore Hanvon was unable to give a forecast for its performance.

As for tablet PCs, since Hanvon currently still cannot find an advantage in the market, the company will maintain its focus on e-book readers.

The e-book reader market: Q&A with E Ink chairman Scott Liu and Hanvon chairman Liu Yingjian (Part I) [Dec 20]

E Ink Holdings (EIH) – formerly Prime View International (PVI) – is the global leader of the electrophoretic display (EPD) market, while Hanvon is the leading vendor of e-book readers in China. … The E Ink chairman believes the e-book market will have high growth for the next 10 years, while his Hanvon counterpart thinks there should be more China e-book reader brands. …

Q: Can you talk about the current development and cooperation between EIH and Hanvon.

image

Scott Liu: EIH has improved the whiteness, contrast ratio and color performance of the new color EPD. Hanvon is handling the overall product design, and they will focus on special markets such as educational institutions, private companies and government offices for the color e-book reader.

Liu Yingjian: EIH and Hanvon have been working together for many years. I would like to pay my respect to EIH, which decided to explore the potential of e-paper, including the acquisition of E Ink in order to have a tight control of the supply chain, when most people in the market were skeptical about such a sector.

Our expectations for e-book readers are firstly demand from paperless offices and then the educational market. Paperless demand is huge, as vendors do not have to worry about content, and it fits the current popular trend of low-carbon life-style. In the educational market, bookbags are too heavy for students, and there will be huge demand.

Q: Will Hanvon and EIH have further cooperation in the educational market in the future?

Liu Yingjian: We have had several meetings regarding the educational market, and we’ve concluded that there are several lines that we cannot trespass.

Hence we have several proposals for promotions in the educational market, First, we will focus on the regions with better economic development as consumers in these regions have the means to purchase e-book readers. Second, we will focus on non-textbook reading materials as wealthy families may purchase the products for their children. Third, we will run trials at junior high schools, universities or some other grades. I believe the educational market will be substantial in 10 years.

Regional trials have been a success, with Shanghai being the most active region. Shanghai is the richest area in China with the highest GDP, and the municipal government has made a five-year plan to popularize the use of e-book readers for educational purposes, and a lot of preparation work needs to be done.

Q: Is there a concrete plan regarding cooperation between EIH and Hanvon for the educational market?

Liu Yingjian: The color e-book reader using EIH’s EPD will be tried out by a class of 500 students in Shanghai in the semester starting in September 2011. But trial use of e-book readers in classroom has already started in Yangzhou. We are now able to meet the two basic requirements for the educational market: color display and handwriting input.

The e-book reader market: Q&A with E Ink chairman Scott Liu and Hanvon chairman Liu Yingjian (Part II) [Dec 21]

Q: There are companies like Foxconn in Taiwan that have introduced e-book readers for students using TFT LCD panels or Mirasol displays from Qualcomm. What’s EIH’s opinion about the competitiveness of other technologies? What is Hanvon’s evaluation of other technologies?

Scott Liu: In fact, other technologies are not mature yet, while EIH has already introduced its color EPD, which is ready for mass production. But as far as I know, makers using other technologies usually will introduce products when the technologies are still at the lab-development phase, and it will be impossible for them to reach mass production in just a few months.

Q: What does EIH think about Qualcomm’s investment in Taiwan in the future, and the fact that Qualcomm will soon start mass production?

Scott Liu: Based on my understanding of Qualcomm’s technology, there are some difficulties for mass production. Even if Qualcomm starts mass production, it will still not able to compete with EPD due to high cost, especially with the high investment amount for setting up a new 4.5G plant, and the depreciation cost could kill a newly developed business.

On the contrary, EIH is mass producing its EPDs on fully depreciated production lines. It has recently added a 5G line and possibly will add a 6G line in the future. EIH has absolute advantage in terms of production capacity. I think there may be a market for Qualcomm’s display products, but judging from its volume production cost, Qualcomm will probably focus on high-end applications.

Liu Yingjian: It is a challenge to produce reflective display products, but it have been proven successful in black and white displays. However, color displays based on reflective technology remain a big challenge for production. But a lot of people commented that the performance of our color EPD displays exhibited (at FPD International) was of high standard.

The products we have launched are better than colored newspapers, but are still worse than magazines and TVs. The color performance of color e-paper is not as rich as TFT-LCD, but what’s more important is that color e-paper does not have side effects on our eyes.

Q: Any other expectations for color e-book readers?

Scott Liu: The basic application for color e-paper is still the e-book reader, and we don’t think that we should sacrifice the quality of black-and-white while doing color. The present color EPD is the first version, which means it is a product that meets the basic EIH standard, and the company will continue to improve the product.

The present color EPD uses color filters. We are making maximum use of the high-reflectivity characteristic of color filters, but this is only the short-term solution. For the long-term solution, we still hope to develop a particle-based electrophoresis technology to dislay colors without color filters. The development will take a longer time, and I expect some achievements in the next few years.

….

image
Source: Digitimes Research, December 2010

Part I. The e-reader market

E-paper maker announces income spike [Aug 11]

Sales of global e-readers are expected to double to 20 million units next year as retail price has fallen to less than US$200 plus contract service

Global sales of 20-25 million e-book readers projected for 2011, says E Ink chairman [Oct 28]

Global e-book reader sales in 2010 are expected to reach 10 million units at least, and the forecast for 2011 is upward adjusted from 18 million units originally, to 20-25 million units, according to chairman Scott Liu for Taiwan-based E Ink Holdings.

e-Reader Market Will Reach 54M Units in 2015 by Displaybank’s e-Reader Industry Trend and Market Forecacast [Nov 16]

Tapping educational e-book reader market needs 2-3 years, says E Ink chairman [Aug 18]

Liu indicated that the Shanghai government aims to replace printed textbooks with e-books in five years, while the Korea government also plans to do the same by 2014.

EIH currently is the supplier of e-book readers in a trial program for adopting e-books at school in Jiangsu, China, Liu added.

Although some countries are stepping up efforts promoting e-reading in schools, it may take years before e-books can really start replacing printed textbooks, as the process involves so many different sectors ranging from content, hardware, platform development to government policies, market observers said.

Global e-book reader shipments to be 2-3 times higher in 2H10, says E Ink chairman [Aug 11]

Price-cut competition for e-book readers among global vendors including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Hanvon is expected to stimulate demand in the second half of 2010, with total shipments expected to be 2-3 times those in the first half, according to Scott Liu, chairman of Taiwan-based EPD (electrophoretic display) maker E Ink Holding.

Liu indicated that with the prices for e-book readers dropping significantly, players who only produce e-reading devices with no content support are coming under threats of being forced out of the market by the first-tier players such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble who will continue to dominate the market.

E Ink added that clients are now able to run pricing campaigns because their EPD orders have already reached the agreed amounts, allowing them to have discounted prices, Liu said, adding that his company is happy to offer the discounts to help stimulate growth of the e-reading market.

Amazon’s latest 6-inch Kindle without 3G connection only costs US$139, reaching the pricing sweet spot, and it is expected to generate significant growth for the vendor, he said.

Liu said that vendors will soon be able to provide sub-US$100 e-book readers judging from the market growth, and E Ink will help clients further lower the production costs.

Global e-book reader shipments fall short of forecast in 2Q10, says Digitimes Research [July 28]

A total of 1.35 million e-book readers were shipped to the global market in the second quarter of 2010, 33.2% fewer than the originally projected 2.02 million units, chiefly because shipments of new models were delayed to the third quarter, according to Digitimes Research.

Two other factors also prevented shipments from reaching the target. Telecom carrier China Mobile Communications’ subsidized sales of e-book readers were weaker-than-expected in the China market, and volume shipments of SiPix’s e-paper solutions were delayed.

Digitimes Insight: China e-book reader market smaller than expected in 2010 [July 14]

Digitimes Research has downward adjusted its 2010 projected total e-book reader shipments in the China market from 1.5 million units originally to 900,000-1 million units, as China Mobile Communications’ subsidized sales of its e-reading device have so far been much below expectations.

China Mobile Communications originally planned to procure one million e-book readers for subsidized sales in the China market in 2010, but the company actually only purchased 30,000-40,000 units in the first half of 2010, Digitimes Research noted.

Worldwide e-book reader shipments to reach 28 million by 2013, says Digitimes Research [March 24]

Global e-book reader shipments will increase from 700,000 units in 2008 to 28 million units in 2013, representing a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 386%, according to a recently published report from Digitimes Research.

The special report on e-book readers also indicated that the total market value for e-book reader shipments would surpass US$3 billion in 2013, up from only US$244 million in 2008.

China, where the government is promoting e-reading as one of its major policies, is expected to become the second-largest single market for e-book readers in 2010.

Demise of the printed word? [Sept 6]

The desire to read books digitally on Apple iPads, Amazon Kindles or devices made in China such as Founder or Hanvon, is perhaps greater in China, where gadgets are adored, than any other market except the United States.

Many of the world’s publishers believe what happens in China could alter the axis of the global publishing industry and condemn what we now know as the paper book to history.

The move to digital transforms the business model of publishing and who gets what slice of the cake.

Publishers fear they could become marginalized or cut out of the process altogether as the new operators in the market – those providing the platforms – want to become content providers themselves and sign their own deals with authors.

One concern publishers have in China is piracy. Already on many street corners, forged copies of many titles of paper books are sold for a fraction of their normal retail price.

What scares publishers is that ripping off digital books is potentially easier and they don’t have to be sold on street stalls but could be sold in any part of the world in an instant.

A high-tech leap may put China front and center [Sept 6]
Lack of modern bookstores may make e-reading a public preference

John Makinson, chairman and chief executive of Penguin, a major international publisher, believes China could lead the world in the way people buy books.

“One of the key features of the Chinese market is that the physical book retailing infrastructure is not quite as well developed as in other markets,” he said. “There is an opportunity for digital publishing because the book retailing market is not as efficient as in some other markets. There are few book shops and there are problems in getting early delivery of books,” he said.

“To some extent, it could sort of leapfrog traditional publishing here, just as mobile telephony in some markets has leapfrogged fixed line phone networks,” he said. “You have a relatively conservative publishing and retail culture here while at the same time you have a very large community of book lovers engaged in online activity.”

He said according to industry figures e-books now make up around 10 percent of the total market in the United States and that portion was growing at 300 percent a year. “We have no idea when it might start flattening out. I think it is heading for at least 20 to 30 per cent of the overall market,” he said.

More people are reading on screens, not on paper [May 7]

The value of the digital publishing industry surpassed that of the traditional publishing industry last year for the first time in China, according to a blue book on the cultural industry released on Thursday.

The scale of the digital publishing industry hit an unprecedented high of 75 billion yuan ($11 billion) last year, up by 40 percent year on year, the blue book said.

“Online books, cell phone books and digital books have become popular among Chinese readers,” Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Cultural Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said at a press conference.

The country’s cultural industry totaled about 800 billion yuan in 2009, according to an annual report on the industry’s development released by Social Sciences Academic Press on Thursday.

The report says most of China’s publishing houses have started producing of digital books.

About 75 percent of newspapers have launched online papers and 55 percent of them are providing SMS (short message service) news, the report says.

About 2.8 percent of Chinese adults have stopped reading anything on paper and have become loyal readers of digitally published products, the report said.

The number of cell phone users in China reached 780 million at the end of March, of which 155 million are mobile readers, according to figures from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China Mobile, the world’s biggest cell phone carrier in terms of subscribers, runs e-book stores and provides wireless access to online publications, such as e-books, comics and magazines.

The subscription fee for its online e-book store is up to five yuan per month, 40 percent of which will be shared with copyright owners, according to China Mobile.

“In recent years, the scale of the traditional publishing industry has remained at around 50 to 60 billion yuan a year, and it relies heavily on textbook publishing,” Gao Shusheng, an official with the publicity department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said in an earlier interview.

“Many publishing houses are facing a crisis and digital publishing might help them break the ice,” he said.

Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of General Administration of Press and Publication, also said mobile reading has shown strong vitality and huge market potential in China.

“I spent 15 yuan on mobile reading last year, and I’m planning to buy an electric book this month,” said Yang Jie, a 27-year-old Beijinger. Reading an electric book on the bus is “fashionable,” and three to five yuan for reading an electric book online is affordable, she said.

China Mobile platform puts digital publications at fingertips [May 6]

China Mobile on Wednesday launched an online platform that enables its subscribers to read and download digital publications through cell phones and e-book readers, as part of its effort to profit from the country’s emerging mobile reading market.

The world’s biggest cellphone carrier in terms of subscribers kicked off an e-book store similar to Apple’s iBook store, which gives users wireless access to a series of online publications such as e-books, comics and magazines.

“Reading habits have fundamentally changed,” said Gao Nianshu, general manager of China Mobile’s data department. He said the company hopes the new platform will attract over 200 million users in the near future.

Gao said China Mobile’s new e-book platform, which currently covers about 40 percent of the best selling books in the country, has attracted over 15 million users during four months of testing in eight areas.

But … although about 45 percent of Chinese mobile Internet users read books at least once a day by mobile phone, few of them are willing to pay for online content.

It was reported earlier this week that China Mobile plans to team up with Foxconn Electronics of Taiwan province to produce its own e-book readers.

Part II. New technologies for 2011

Color Comes to E Ink Screens [Nov 7]

However, the new color E Ink display, while an important technological breakthrough, is not as sharp and colorful as LCD. Unlike an LCD screen, the colors are muted, as if one were looking at a faded color photograph. In addition, E Ink cannot handle full-motion video. At best, it can show simple animations.

These are reasons Amazon, Sony and the other major e-reader makers are not yet embracing it. Amazon says it will offer color E Ink when it is ready; the company sees color as useful in cookbooks and children’s books, and it offers these books in color through its Kindle application for LCD devices. Sony is also taking a wait-and-see approach.

How E Ink’s Triton Color Displays Work, In E-Readers and Beyond [Nov 9]

E Ink developed the Triton screen in conjunction with a group of partners, including Epson, Texas Instruments, Marvell, and the semiconductor companies Maxim and Freescale, all of whom worked on the electronic components of the [previous black and white only] Pearl screen. In particular, Epson played a key role, providing the color filters’ controller chip.

Underneath, it’s still the same white, black and grayscale electrophoretic pigments; it’s only when filtered through the RGB overlay that the image appears in color. To reach for an historical analogy, it’s not totally dissimilar from film’s Technicolor process, which shot in black-and-white film strips through color filters, then reverse-processed.

Because the underlying technology is identical, Triton’s contrast, energy usage, viewing angle are all essentially the same as the Pearl. The image update or refresh rate for monochrome is the same (240 ms), but color animation can take up to about one full second.

Unlike a LCD display, though, pictures on the Triton don’t need to update the entire screen: a moving figure in the foreground might be refreshed while the background remains identical — just like traditional cel animation.

Epson and E Ink Announce State-of-the-Art Color EPD Controller [May 18]

Seiko Epson Corporation … and E Ink Corporation … announced a new jointly developed display controller IC. The S1D13524 is a high-performance EPD controller with a built-in color processor for E Ink’s VizplexTM-enabled electronic color paper displays.

Yingjian Liu, chairman of Hanvon Technology Co., Ltd, a leading eReader provider said, “Epson and E Ink’s color EPD controller is a revolutionary innovation in the eReader industry. Thanks to this breakthrough technology announcement, eReader lovers will now be able to enjoy reading colorful eNewspapers and eTextbooks. This new innovation will help expand the contents for eReaders, thereby helping to preserve the environment and changing the way in which people obtain information.” Hanvon is planning to launch its own colorful eReader at the end of the year.

The S1D13524 is the ideal choice for E Ink color EPD designs and design upgrades. Samples of the Epson S1D13524 will be available in June. Sample price is $24. Production quantities will be available in Dec 2010.

Epson to Provide Display Controller Platform that Sharply Improves e-Paper Product Performance [Oct 27]
– Platform to enable laser-quality images and high-speed refreshes

Seiko Epson Corporation (“Epson”, TSE: 6724) today announced that it has developed a new display controller platform for electronic reading devices and other electronic paper products that provides laser-sharp image quality and rapid refreshes. The company will begin shipping the platform to e-paper-based product manufacturers in April 2011.

The display control platform will enable e-paper product manufacturers to speed up their time to market by allowing them to efficiently develop products with fast display refresh times and the ability to display images as sharp and clear as any produced by a laser printer. Notably, the platform will facilitate the development of products for business and education applications, which typically require higher image quality and faster displays.

Epson is the world’s no.1* supplier of controller ICs for e-paper displays, partnering with E Ink Holdings Inc. of Hsinchu, Taiwan, the world’s number 1 supplier of e-paper.

The display controller platform employs a newly developed e-paper display driving scheme that is unlike those used in current e-book readers. The new driving scheme capitalizes on high-speed image processing technology originally developed for Epson’s photo-quality printers to enable e-paper displays with resolutions of 300 dpi and higher to be refreshed at high speed, which is ideal for higher education, professional office and general business environments.

E-paper devices outfitted with the display controller platform and a high-resolution e-paper display will render intricate content, such as “kanji” characters, mathematical formulas and engineering drawings, as well as illustrations, photographs and other images that require smooth gradations, much more clearly than current e-paper displays. They will also be able to flip through the pages of an e-book much faster than existing e-readers. When combined with sensors, these devices will provide powerful handwriting recognition, a critical function for business applications. The sharp improvement in readability and usability are expected to fuel the popularity of e-paper products in Japan, China, and other regions where Chinese characters are used, as well as in business and education applications where huge amounts of data have to be processed.

E Ink Announces Next Generation Display Platform [July 1]

E Ink® Corporation, the leading developer and marketer of electronic paper display technology, today announced the Q2 release of its next generation display technology, Pearl. With Pearl, E Ink expands the capabilities of reflective displays, bringing electronic paper performance to the next level. With the whitest reflective displays in the industry, and a contrast ratio now approximately 50 percent greater than today’s products, text on Pearl “pops” from the page, enabling a reading experience most similar to reading text on printed paper.

The E Ink Pearl design builds on the current generation of Vizplex designs, which is used in millions of eReader devices today. Due to a unique and proven two pigment system that is extremely stable, the current E Ink products in the market today have demonstrated long life and high reliability, enabling a whole new class of consumer products.

Images and text become crisp on the screen as the contrast between the background and item of interest is increased. E Ink Pearl raises the bar for displays used in digital reading. This allows for eReaders to go from a contrast ratio typical of newspapers, to a higher contrast ratio typical of paperback books. The crisp text and detailed graphics also continue to remain pleasant to view when E Ink products are enjoyed outside. In addition, with 16 gray level depth, E Ink Pearl offers the sharpest rendering of images and allows product developers to display images with smooth tones and rich detail.

Part III. The Chinese market

E Ink to set up subsidiary in China to develop e-book hardware [Dec 16]

Small- to medium-size TFT-LCD panel and electrophoretic display (EPD) maker E Ink Holdings will invest US$6.61 million to set up a subsidiary in China to design and develop hardware for e-book readers for the local education market, according to the company.

… the company will not mass produce e-book readers. This investment in China is to provide an incentive to the textbook market to commence its transition to e-paper

China market: Hanvon to lower e-book reader prices by average of CNY500 a year, says report [Dec 7]

Hanvon Technology, the largest China-based vendor of e-book readers, has reached an initial economy-scale of over one million users in the China market and will keep reducing prices by an average of CNY500 (US$75) each year until it reaches production cost levels, according to a report by China-based Beijing News. … Hanvon will rely on sales of online content for profitability, the paper quoted Hanvon chairman Liu Ying-jian as saying. Hanvon will even offer free e-book readers, Liu indicated.

Hanvon has so far adopted EPD (electrophoretic display) panels supplied by Taiwan-based E Ink Holdings, and will cooperate with additional suppliers including Qualcomm MEMS Technologies and Fujitsu

Hanwang to maintain over 70% of China e-book reader market share in 2010 [Nov 24]

Hanwang Technology’s e-book reader shipments are expected to exceed one million units in 2010, an increase of 150% from about 400,000 units in 2009, and the vendor is expected to maintain an over 70% share of the e-book reader market in China for the year.

Hanwang is optimistic about the education market and expects significant growth in the future, noting that there are over 100 million elementary school students. Hanwang noted that flexible substrates will help to boost demand in the education market because they are more robust than glass substrates.

China market: Hanvon lowers e-book readers by 200-300 yuan on average [Nov 16]:

Hanvon Technology, currently the largest vendor of e-book readers in the China market, has lowered its retail prices by 200-300 yuan (US$30-45) on average, with the lowest price reaching 950 yuan, according to report by China-based Beijing Morning Post. The price war for e-book readers in the China market has kicked off and there are expected to be rounds of price-cut competition, the source cited China-based consulting company Analysys International as indicating.

In addition to Hanvon, fellow vendor MReader has cut the retail price for its S600 e-book reader to 999 yuan and another vendor Gorld has cut the price for its 500T to about 1,000 yuan.

Hanvon color e-book reader to hit the market in February 2011 [Nov 11]

Hanvon will start selling its new 9.7-inch color e-book reader featuring E Ink Holding’s latest color e-paper, Triton, in February 2011 with a selling price of 3,500 yuan (US$527.59) and is accepting pre-orders now.

Hanvon chairman Liu Ying-jian noted that thanks to E Ink’s cooperation, Hanvon was able to launch the world’s first color e-book reader with better-than-expected color performance. Hanvon will launch a Wi-Fi version with a selling price of 3,500 yuan, and latter a 3G version at a price of 200-300 yuan more.

In addition to competing with iPad, the 9.7-inch color e-book reader is also eyeing the commercial market as the product allows users to read and modify PowerPoint files, reducing the usage of actual paper and is easy to carry around, Liu added.

E Ink Announces Color ePaper [Nov 10]

“Color ePaper will enable richer content in eBooks, as well as enabling a broader array of other reading devices, for content such as magazines, newspapers, and educational materials,” according to Paul Semenza, Senior Vice President, DisplaySearch. “We foresee market demand for ePaper displays in these applications reaching $5 billion by 2016.”

For image-rich information applications showing charts, graphs, maps, photos, comics and advertising, color displays made with Triton Imaging Film enable ultra-low power and high mobility devices with a paper-like experience. In addition to 16 levels of grayscale, Triton is capable of displaying thousands of colors. And just like E Ink’s grayscale ePaper products, Triton’s crisp text and detailed color graphics are fully viewable in direct sunlight.

INTERVIEW: Aiming for No. 1 in e-reader sector [June 2]

Taipei Times: Hanvon Technology Co (漢王科技) enjoys a strong presence in the Chinese e-reader market and you aim to become the world’s top brand. How do you plan to do that and what is your timeline?

Liu Yingjian (劉迎建): We are currently the world’s No. 2 e-reader brand [after Amazon], and we will become No. 1 next year, or in 2012 at the latest. China has the biggest e-reader market. With our huge scale in shipments, we have advantages in lower costs and product functionality with our proprietary Mandarin-character recognition software.

Our goal was to ship 500,000 e-readers in China last year, but we sold only 266,000 units, as our upstream suppliers weren’t able to supply the volumes we requested. In the first quarter, we shipped 180,000 e-readers, and the total volume for the year will definitely surpass 1 million.

TT: The iPad is now taking the world by storm and Acer Inc (宏碁) last week announced that it would join hands with China’s Founder Group (北大方正集團) to move into China’s PC and e-reader market. How do you view the competition?

Liu: I regard [Apple co-founder] Steve Jobs as a hero and Apple itself is an outstanding company. Tablet PCs have been in the market for so long, but just didn’t take off. The launch of the iPad revived consumers’ interest. Apple’s business model, applications, stylish gadgets and the enjoyment these devices bring to consumers are amazing.

But this doesn’t mean that Apple products will also receive overwhelming response in China. The cultural essence is the part Western firms fail to offer. Hanvon has created computerized Mandarin-character handwriting recognition solutions, which allow the elderly and kids to enjoy technology by just scribbling on the panels.

[Liu developed the world’s first computerized Mandarin-character handwriting recognition technology in 1985, then founded Hanvon in 1998 and the company became the first Chinese IT firm to license technology to Microsoft Corp the same year.]

The market in China is huge and there won’t be only one player. We have over 40 e-reader brands and the competition helps us stay competitive. What Acer lacks in digital content is complemented by Founder’s resources.

TT: The market is now split into two segments: e-readers and tablet devices. Some say tablets will cannibalize the e-reader segment. What is your take on this, especially since Hanvon just debuted its first tablet — the TouchPad — late last month?

Liu: These two products share a similarity: They are both tablet devices, but use different panels. The major difference is that an e-reader is more for stationary use, such as flipping through newspapers and magazines, and uses less battery power. Tablets consume more power, but have color screens with more PC-like features. In the future, e-paper displays will be in color, while TFT panels used in tablets will consume less battery power. Both could merge into a single device over the next three years.

TT: How would you define your relationship with Taiwanese manufacturers?

Liu: We realized that when it comes product design, Taiwanese manufacturers are the cream of the crop. Hanvon isn’t strong in manufacturing and if we want to churn out products that have world-class quality, then we need to work with world-class companies. I started to pay aggressive visits to Taiwanese manufacturers in the second half of last year, looking for suitable partners. There are a slew of sleek products that we will introduce later this year and they are designed by Taiwanese firms. Also, we are currently talking to Book11.com for e-content and plan to bring in our e-reader and TouchPad to Taiwan in the second half.

Hanvon and Taiwan Partners Make Joint Efforts to Establish Global Distribution Network and an Overseas Marketing Platform is Built in Taiwan [Oct 16]

China Hanvon Technology, the world’s second-largest e-reader manufacturers as well as the world’s leading technology supplier of handwriting recognition, optical character recognition and biometrics identification sets up an overseas marketing platform in Taiwan today to expand overseas markets. Hanvon also announces that all its four major product lines Ebook readers (including the latest six-inch touch-screen Ebook N620 with handwriting recognition and WiFi launched simultaneously in mainland China), Tablet PCs, Graphic Tablets and Face Recognitions Products will be available in Taiwan. Hanvon Technology will also cooperate with the digital publishers in Taiwan on the establishment a cross-strait publishing cooperation platform to support the distribution of Taiwan’s Traditional Chinese publication in mainland China and further expand the market of Chinese publication. Attaching importance to Taiwan market, Hanvon Technology today invites dozens of partners in Taiwan such as technology companies, distributors and digital publishers to attend the news conference. Hanvon Technology hopes the establishment of overseas marketing platform in Taiwan is an opportunity to Chinese digital publishers across the strait to collaborate on spreading Chinese culture and starting a new era of Chinese reading!

Hanvon to launch Taiwan subsidiary [Sept 8]

… it will have a workforce of 70 to 80 carrying out research and development, as well as sales, said Chen Shaoqiang (陳少強), president of Hanvon’s resources management division.

The commencement of local operations will also include the debut of its online bookstore, which will allow owners of Hanvon e-readers to download books onto their devices

To meet shipment goals, Hanvon has outsourced production to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), Pegatron Corp (和碩), Inventec Corp (英業達) and Clevo Co (藍天電腦).

Part IV. Hanvon’s Microsoft and Intel cooperation

[FPD 2010] Hanvon’s Triton Powered Color e-Reader “WISEreader” hands-on [Nov 12]

Available in Pre-order in China, Hanvon’s latest e-Reader is according to the company the world first Color e-book reader. Name “WISEreader” this new e-Reader comes with a 9.68” Screen from E INK Triton technology, display 4096 colors, comes with Hanvon Digital Touch screen technology, runs on Windows CE 6.0 a Freescale CPU, has 2GB of RAM and support MicroSD Cards up to 32GB.

Other spec includes a 2350mAh Li-Ion Battery, Wi-Fi B/G as well as several WAN Options including TD, EVDO and WCDMA.

Finally the WISEreader support TXT Files as well as HTML, HTXT, PDF, CEB, DOC, XLS, PPT, EPUB, HEB, HEC, JPG, BMP, TIF, GIF, MP3, WAV and WMA.

We had some quality time with this little marvel and honestly the screen is quite good and the overall reader was responsive. With a nice 9.68 screen capable to rotate on landscape mode, the WISEreader is a pretty descent device. Capable to support some basic little games, it make us which to be in China just right now to grab one.

http://www.hanvon.com/en/products/ebook/index.html

6 inches

5 inches

8 inches

WinCE:· File Formats:
– Text: TXT, HTXT, HTML, PDF, EPUB, DOC, XLS
– Image: JPG, TIF, BMP, PNG, GIF
– DRM: Adobe content management 4· Digital Audio Formats: WAV, WMA, MP3
WinCE 5.0:· Supported Digital Audio Standards: WAV, MP3· Reader:
– TEXT: TXT, HTXT, HTML, PDF, EPUB, CHM, Mobi/FB2/(not available yet)
– Image: JPG, TIF, BMP, PNG, GIF

· Office: Microsoft® Word, EXCEL, PPT (not available yet)

Linux:

· File Formats:
– Text: TXT, HTXT, HTML, PDF, EPUB
– Image: JPG, TIF, BMP, PNG, GIF,CHM
– DRM: Adobe content management 4

· Digital Audio Formats: WMA, MP3

Hanvon Ebook Readers [March]

… if you want handwriting recongnition incorporated into a reading device Hanvon has to be first choice.  This is a key part of their work for over two decades, and something at which they do excel. …

YouTube video:

Hanvon’s latest e-book reader N618 is powered by Windows Embedded CE (WinCE), supporting WiFi connectivity and the stand-by time is as long as up to 15 days. Here the stylus based user interface is well demonstrated. Please note the company’s leadership handwriting recognition technology together with note taking all provided on top of WinCE. The company had 829 employees [see at 3:45] at that time and one third of them were working in R&D.

Hanvon WiSEreader N618 at Microsoft booth on COMPUTEX Taipei 2010 [June 6]

Microsoft invites Hanvon to take participate in Microsoft booth in COMPUTEX Taipei (#L108). On 1st of June, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, OEM, Mr. Steven Guggenheimer introduces Hanvon to Microsoft media that Hanvon is a very important partner of Microsoft Window Embedded [because of Windows CE, see above], and that Hanvon comes from Beijing, which is a very magnificent media exposure for Hanvon brand.

Hanvon Invites Taiwan Peers to Jointly Enter Global E-book Reader Market [June 2]

Hanvon today unveiled an array of new products at the Computex Taipei 2010, including Touchpad B10 (tablet PC), WISEreader N618 (e-book reader), and Art Master Ⅲ(graphics tablet).

  • TouchPad B10
    Hanvon, Microsoft, and Intel jointly launched TouchPad B10 for business people. Also called the “iPad Killer” by the market, TouchPad has a trendy look and various practical features. With a weight around 990g and thickness of only 18mm, the stylish and light-weighted Touchpad is easy to carry. In addition, TouchPad supports VGA resolution of 1024×600 (16:9) and is equipped with a 2GB DDR2 memory and 250GB hard drive and therefore it makes video and audio files easy to read and write. With Windows7 pre-installed operating system, 2 USB ports, audio in/out, mini HDMI, TouchPad is a perfect trendy and handy product for consumers to use.
  • WISEreader N618
    WISEreader N618 is Hanvon’s first ebook reader equipped with built-in WiFi, which allows users to read ebooks via wireless web. It is a business type e-Book reader, equipped with a 6-inch E-Ink large screen and document editing/management software which supports multi-format files. Using Hanvon’s latest handwriting recognition technology and electromagnetic plate technology, WISEreader N618 is a more convenient tool compared to traditional notebooks for users as they can enjoy the dual touch screen features through gesture and handwriting recognition. WISEreader N618 is therefore a great companion for business and travel.

Hanvon B10 Win7 tablet goes on sale, gets video unboxing [Aug 25]

Hanvon Touchpad B10 tablet computer at CES China [July 12]

… new Touchpad B10 [linking to Hanvon’s product page] tablet computer. The 9.96 x 6.61 x 0.70 inch, 1.98 pound device is powered by a 1.3GHz ULV 743 Celeron processor and GMA X4500 display chip from Intel on a GS45 chipset with 2GB DDR2 memory and a 250GB hard disk drive.

Intel Shares Vision for the Future [April 13]

Also, Perlmutter disclosed that Intel is working with PC manufacturers Tongfang* and Hanvon* to introduce the new convertible classmate PC design that combines aesthetics with ruggedness, full PC functionality with enhanced e-reading capabilities and improved performance with energy efficiency. The flexible design of the new convertible classmate PC works and moves the way students do. The tablet touch screen form factor also adds additional functionality for students. Development of these new features was based on extensive ethnographic research with students and teachers.

Rugged Convertible Classmate PC Design Moves the Way Kids Do [April 26]

Intel Corporation today unveiled the most flexible and durable Intel-powered convertible classmate PC reference design yet.

PRESS KIT – The Intel-powered classmate PC: Photos

image

The new convertible classmate PC design converts instantly from a clamshell to a tablet mode with a touch screen, featuring a built-in camera that will swivel for 180 degrees while retaining its kids-friendly design.  Features of the platform are designed for more mobility, flexibly and collaboration in students’ learning.  The convertible design will coexist with the Intel-powered clamshell classmate PC for varying education needs in the world.

Pegatron lands orders for tablet PCs from China-based Hanvon [12 Nov]:

Hanvon has extended its own-brand business operation from e-book readers to tablet PCs and has launched a few business-use models including Touchpad B10 and B20 in the China market, the sources indicated.

Hanvon’s executives earlier came to Taiwan to seek ODM partners for its tablet PCs, with First International Computer, Clevo, Quanta Computer and Wistron regarded as candidates, the sources pointed out. Hanvon originally selected Clevo, but Clevo gave up the opportunity because Hanvon asked for too low prices, the sources indicated. Finally, Pegatron won by quoting the lowest, the sources noted.

China market: Hanvon to launch TouchPad B10 tablet PC in January [Dec 17]

China-based Hanvon Technology will begin to market its first Windows 7-based tablet PC, the TouchPad B10, in the China market in January 2011. Hanvon is currently outsourcing production of the TouchPad 10, which is powered by an Intel N455 processor, to Taiwan-based First International Computer (FIC).

FIC began shipping the TouchPad B10 in December and volume shipments will be maintained at 2,000-4,000 units a month initially. However, total monthly shipments are likely to reach 10,000-15,000 units when Hanvon launches Android-based products in the second quarter of 2011, according to industry sources.

More information:

Undermining E-Ink and single-purpose E-readers [Aug 23 – Nov 10]: a comprehensive report about the massive FUD generated by competitive forces a few months back. Has been successfully beaten back.

This Ink Is for Reading [July 1]: all you need to know about E-Ink Holdings (that times called Prime View International)

somewhat older information of the similar kind:

By the Book [Jan 8]

Taiwan firm spreads out e-paper magic [Jan 2]

Prime View and E-Book Readers: A New Page in Reading History [July 21, 2009]

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4 Comments

  1. […] Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon&rs… […]

  2. […] analysts/observers at all [Jan 7] – Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and 3.0 (Honeycomb) [Dec 30, 2011] – Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s pr… [Dec 21, 2011] – Intel’s industry position and prospects for years ahead [Dec 9, […]

  3. […] 2011] – OPhone 2.5 and beyond from Borqs for China Mobile [Experiencing the Cloud, Dec 5, 2011] – Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s pr… [Experiencing the Cloud, Dec 21, 2010] – Cloud Computing Strategy for Digital China: Taiwan is […]

  4. […] [May 25, 2011], E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 23, 2011] and Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s pr… [Dec 21, […]

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