Ballmer Bares China Travails [May 27, 2011]
Rampant piracy means Microsoft Corp.’s revenue in China this year will only be about 5% of what it gets in the U.S., even though personal-computer sales in the two countries are almost equal, Chief Executive Steve Ballmertold employees in a meeting here.
Mr. Ballmer’s candid remarks provided a glimpse at the software giant’s struggle with piracy in what will soon be the world’s largest PC market. In China, copies of Microsoft’s core Office and Windows programs are still available on street corners for $2 or $3 each, a fraction of their retail price, despite efforts by the company to curb theft.
In his address to employees at the company’s new Beijing offices, Mr. Ballmer said Microsoft’s revenue per personal computer sold in China is only about a sixth of the amount it gets in India. He noted that Microsoft’s total revenue in China, population 1.3 billion, is less than what it gets in the Netherlands, a country of fewer than 17 million.
“We’re literally talking about an opportunity that is billions of dollars today” if China’s intellectual property rights protection were at the level of India’s, Mr. Ballmer said Wednesday in Beijing. … PC sales in China will be “as big as the U.S. market this year,” he said, yet “our revenue in China will be about a twentieth of our revenue in the United States.”
The statement suggests Microsoft’s revenue in China is close to $2 billion. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, Microsoft reported U.S. revenue of $36.2 billion out of a world-wide total of $62.5 billion.
Follow-up: First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21 – Sept 25, 2011]
After the technical and business excellence well reflected in my previous posts Marvell seems to be on the high rise.
See my previous posts as well:
– ASUS, China Mobile and Marvell join hands in the OPhone ecosystem effort for “Blue Ocean” dominance [March 8, 2011]
– Kinoma is now the marvellous software owned by Marvell [Feb 15, 2011]
– Marvell to capitalize on BRIC market with the Moby tablet [Feb 3, 2011]
– Marvell ARMADA beats Qualcomm Snapdragon, NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung/Apple Hummingbird in the SoC market [again] [Sept 23, 2010 – Jan 17, 2011]
Update: Marvell Leads TD-SCDMA Market with Industry’s First Commercially Available Single-Chip Solution Shipping in China [June 1, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Company showcases at Computex 2011 a suite of new smartphones, tablets and mobile hotspot devices developed for the China market powered by Marvell’s PXA920 series of high performance single-chip TD-SCDMA solutions.
… said Weili Dai, Marvell’s Co-Founder. “Marvell has raised the technology bar for the entire industry. We believe Marvell has delivered a quantum leap to the development and adoption of the TD-SCDMA standard. Because of this breakthrough, more than a dozen world-leading mobile OEMs are launching Marvell® PXA920 based products in China. We’re very proud to enable the next billion users of connected devices in China.”
Marvell’s industry-leading TD-SCDMA solution is designed to deliver world-class performance – 3D graphics, mobile gaming, mobile TV, and high definition video with a unified user experience across different product platforms enabled by Marvell’s beautiful and easy-to-use Kinoma® software. Additionally, the PXA920 series of products are the industry’s first TD-SCDMA solution that combines a high performance application processor and modem and enables realization of the long-standing quest for mass market smartphones priced at 1,000 RMB. This same platform is designed to support worldwide 3G and 2G standards, allowing OEMs to rapidly deploy WCDMA smartphones, tablets, and mobile hotspot devices in China and beyond.
Marvell provides a complete solution including system-on-chip (SoC) communication processors, modems, RF, PMIC, and integrated Wi-Fi/BT/FM connectivity including 1×1 and 2×2 mobile MIMO with beamforming capabilities. Marvell’s TD-SCDMA silicon and software solutions were developed at its Shanghai design center, home to approximately 1,000 engineers dedicated to the China market.
Update: The PXA920 opportunity was realized only in September 2011, two years later than the September 2009 launch. See:First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21, 2011]
Marvell Up 11%: Street Says ‘Inflection Point’ [May 27, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Shares of Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) are up $1.53, almost 11%, at $16.09 after the company last night missedfiscal Q1 estimates but forecast the current quarter ahead of consensus, based on an expectation for a pick-up in its wireless chip business.
Most analysts this morning are saying business has hit bottom and is on the way back up. Estimates are up all around, though there are no ratings revisions, as far as I can see, and price targets are mostly staying where they were.
The China Mobile (CHL) “OPhone” project for TD-SCDMA handsets could bring the company $40 million in the latter half of this year.
… in Ophone it believes it has ~80% of a 10-12M C12 TD unit oppty …
… the Q2 forecast is “a fundamental inflection point,” even though the ramp-up of wireless chips for China Mobile’s OPhone will be relatively immaterial. “We believe the company is ramping several OEMs this quarter, with one being ASUS. Previously, management indicated that it had garnered design wins for 90% of current OPhone models across eight of the top nine OEMs. The company now expects to ship to over 12 customers this year with a design win rate of ~80%.” …
With that market capitalization of Marvell went from $9.2B to $10.2B in a single day.
Marvell Technology Group’s CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [May 26, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Given the recent market concern surrounding our Mobile and Wireless business, I would like to take a moment to address this up front. First, I would like to stress that the mobile end market is a key area for Marvell, and we continue to invest new product development and to strengthen our infrastructure to support new customers.
As an example, we are currently supporting over 20 handset designs at new customers. In addition to our current 3G and TD offerings, our investment in advanced technologies, such as LTE, are starting to pay benefits. We are already sampling our LTE solutions at some of our key customers and believe we are well positioned to benefit when the market ramps. Although quarter-to-quarter fluctuations are hard to avoid, we believe our business at our leading customers will be sustained, and we will continue to be a significant player in this space.
Second, I want to share with you the current status of the ramp in TD products. We are winning about 80% of the TD smartphone designs on the Android and OMS platforms. Our single-chip solutions address the entire spectrum of low- to high-end TD phones, and we are firmly entrenched in the high-volume sweet spot. We believe our solutions are compelling for this market and should translate into solid growth for our TD business this year.
We remain confident that our early investment in support of the TD has been extended in China will be very beneficial to us as the majority of China’s mobile 600 million subscribers continue migrating to the smartphone market on the TD standard.
In addition, we are working with our key carrier partners and handset customers on prototypes for our next-generation TD LTE, which we’ll be sampling later this year. These new products are best in class and fully backward-compatible. We believe these investments will further distance us from our competitors in TD.
During the last quarter, we achieved a significant milestone as the first company to ship TD single-chip solutions in production volumes. We expect these revenues to more than double in the second quarter. This should provide clear evidence that our strategy in TD is successful.
Question-and-Answer Session [of the above]
Let me add a little bit more color about why is TD so important to China. There’s a lot of people — a lot of people in outside China are skeptical about the opportunities of TD in China. The way I look at it, I can explain it from a technical point of view. But then, I can speak until I’m tired, and nobody will care anyway. So I’m trying to, this time, answer you from a different angle, from a non-technical point of view.
As you know, Chinese have been run — the society has been run for 4,000 or 5,000 years of history. And over those history, they invented many new technologies hundreds of years before anybody else invented those technologies. Yes, okay, recently, okay, in the modern eras, in the cell phone, they were behind. But they were behind only for a few years. The TD-SCDMA industry standard was developed a few years later than the WCDMA 3G standards. So it’s natural for the WCDMAs to be ramping up in the rest of the world first.
However, China, with understanding the Chinese, already waited 5,000 years in history. Waiting for a few more years for ramping up all the majority of their cell phones to use Chinese phone standard. Okay, it’s of the highest priority for the Chinese people. So this, compared to anything else, this is more important than, let’s say, speeding up the deployment of 3G into China by using outside technology. And they’re only few years. And from then on the Chinese people will be labeled do not have any 3G technology. So the way I look at it, okay, that’s not going to happen.
What’s going to happen is that TD is beginning to be deployed in China for the Chinese people. They’re ramping up huge number of subscriber, and as I mentioned earlier, 600 million subscribers. Over time, those subscribers will all move to TD-SCDMA and TD LTE. The base stations already been deployed. More than 220,000 base station last year being deployed throughout the whole China, not just in the big cities. Everywhere, throughout the whole China. That’s more than base stations, the number of base stations in the largest area in, let’s say, in the U.S. in total. And this is just the new base station for China Mobile, and they continue to invest in new base stations this year and next year.
So you can see that the opportunities for us is great. The only thing, as Clyde said, is we need to just wait and see when the rest of the customer will ramp up. As the products get more mature, as the prices goes down, it will be natural for those design wins to continue to go into production. And the beauty is that we have 80% of design wins. So at least we don’t have to worry about, okay, when it actually ramps, it will be somebody else, not only us.
… there’s a 800-pound gorilla that’s out there that’s very strongly the tablet business. So every other — the vast majority of companies there working on the tablet solutions do have a challenge on trying to get the tablet market in the short term.
In the long term. In the long term, I do believe that our strength in being able to integrate the modem and the application processors will be important not just in the cell phone, in the smartphone, but also in the tablet. There are so many — because after all, the tablet — if you think about what’s in the tablet, the tablet really is a smartphone with a bigger screen. So it’s just a matter of time.
You’re asking about in the next 2 or 3 years, I do believe in the next 2 years or so when things, the dust settle down, the tablet and the smartphones really looks just the same like we have design wins like we have significantly done with in the smartphones market, but we’ll have design wins, sizeable design wins, in the tablet. For the market, they are obviously, we’ll use the type of technology, the modem technology that we developed. For this market that we don’t use our own, the modem that we don’t develop, obviously, they’ll go somewhere else.
But as I said, TD-SCDMA, we invest in TD-SCDMA, LTE, TD LTE, as well, and WCDMA. So this is at least 70%, 80% of the market of the world anyway, so that’s enough. There’s a big enough time for us to address. And so if we can address our fair share of market share for those markets, we’ll be just fine.
And so for now, for us is to invest. We have to invest in the software. We have to invest and support of the customers. We have to design new chips with more advanced technology, better and higher integrations, and make the things lower cost and so on. So the standard stuff that we do in any other businesses. So sometimes these things takes time, longer time than we expect. I understand the frustration. I also wish I could get things get done sooner, but sometimes we win some. Sometimes, we lose some, and then things get delayed. We’ll come back and recover, and then we’ll become a stronger company as a result.
Update: Microsoft postpones IDP for 2 weeks to re-consult with chip players [June 2, 2011]
Microsoft has postponed its Integrated Development Program (IDP) for Windows 8 as the plan created significant dissatisfaction within the upstream supply chain. Microsoft is set to re-consult with the five major chip players about IDP, while Microsoft OEM vice president Steven Guggenheimer also paid visits to executives of Acer and Asustek Computer on June 1, to communicate and is set to re-release details of IDP after two weeks, according to sources from notebook players.
Sources from chip players pointed out that Microsoft’s actions have their reasons, but the way the company unfolded the plan to its partners could make its partners feel unpleasant since players that do not participate believe they will lose the opportunity to launch Windows 8-based products first hand, which could seriously affect their product lineup in the future.
The chip players also noted that the development of ARM-based Windows 8 has difficulties and if Microsoft adopts an open development program as in the past, the company may not have enough manpower to support and answer all the problems and questions chip and system players have.
Following Microsoft’s CES 2011 move to the SoC level slot management of the market, here is the next step in that direction:
Taiwan PC vendors seeking participation in developing Windows 8 [May 25, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Microsoft has talked with Nvidia, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments (TI), Intel and AMD for their participation in its Integrated Development Program specifically for developing Windows 8 for use in tablet PCs and has asked each IC vendor to invite two PC vendors for joint development and testing, according to industry sources in Taiwan. Taiwan-based PC vendors who have been in long-term partnerships with Microsoft have complained to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) because they were not invited to participate, and hope for the government’s negotiation with Microsoft, the sources added.
For each of the five IC vendors, Microsoft seems to have desirable PC vendors such as Samsung Electronics, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell, the sources indicated.
The IC vendors are actually unwilling to invite only two PC vendors because they each have many PC clients and participation of more PC vendors is commercially favorable for them. Thus, the IC vendors have urged Microsoft to invite more PC vendors, but Microsoft has so far insisted on the quota of two for the initial period, the sources said.
Wu Ming-ji, director general of the Department of Industrial Technology under MOEA, indicated the department has heard about Microsoft’s move from Taiwan-based PC vendors although Microsoft has not confirmed it.
In view of the business performance and global reputation of Taiwan-based vendors Acer, Asustek and HTC, the Taiwan government recommends that Microsoft invite them to co-develop Windows 8 in the first round because this would be in Microsoft’s best interest, Wu emphasized.
However, Wu did not indicated whether the government will negotiate with Microsoft or make any arrangement.
What happened at CES 2011 has been described in my CES 2011 presence with Microsoft moving to SoC & screen level slot management that is not understood by analysts/observers at all [Jan 7, 2011] report.
Since that report is enormously large I will include here all the relevant excerpts regarding the SoC level of slot management:
Microsoft’s CES 2011 presence is summarized in two detailed parts below, one for the System on a Chip (SoC) support announcement and the other based on the Steve Ballmer’s CES 2011 opening keynote. The first one has, however, been a source of great confusion among the company watchers, analysts and observers, therefore before we start the detailed overview in these two parts we should look into that situation first.
While the company has clearly stated that Microsoft Announces Support of System on a Chip Architectures From Intel, AMD, and ARM for Next Version of Windows [Jan 5] even such an ardent Microsoft watcher as Mary-Jo Foles interpreted this as a simple message that CES: Microsoft shows off Windows 8 on ARM [Jan 5]. No wonder that Computerworld has written an article that an Analyst ‘baffled’ by Microsoft talk of Windows 8 on ARM [Jan 6]:
In an accompanying analysis article IDG News Services has even up the ante by declaring that Microsoft must get ISVs onto ARM bandwagon, Microsoft has a lot of work to do moving Windows to ARM chips [Jan 6]:
This is all absolutely wrong. The truth is that Microsoft made a strategic decision of moving its core slot management approach to the key System on a Chip (SoC) vendors. It is a decision of enormous significance because up to now the company was managing the slots created by the PC vendors. That is Microsoft had been trying to ensure all along that the client PCs shipped to the market, the “slots” in terms of Microsoft internal way of thinking:
- Are best when they are running Microsoft system software.
- Have that software already installed when the devices are out of the factory floor (with OEM versions)
From now on Microsoft will do a kind of similar thing on the SoC level (and on the screen level as well), this is my conclusion as I carefully compiled all the available information in the two parts available below. This became absolutely obvious to me as I compared the below details with the radically new “slot situation” represented in my previous post Changing purchasing attitudes for consumer computing are leading to a new ICT paradigm [Jan 5].
Look for example how PC vendors were underrepresented in the keynote compared to what had been before (see my earlier posts: Windows slates in the coming months? Not much seen yet [July 13 – Oct 6, 2010] and Windows 7 tablets/slates with Oak Trail Atom SoC in December [Nov 1 – 24, 2010]) as well as how on the electronics industry level things had been changed recently (see my earlier posts: Marvell ARMADA beats Qualcomm Snapdragon, NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung/Apple Hummingbird in the SoC market [again] [Sept 23 –Nov 4, 2010,] and Intel’s industry position and prospects for years ahead [Dec 9, 2010]).
– Mary-Jo Foley started to discover some, but only some real motives in her latest With Windows coming to ARM, what happens to Windows Embedded Compact? [Jan 7]. There she mused about the really significant fact of the cancellation of Microsoft OEM chief’s planned appearance at the J.P. Morgan Tech Forum at CES (see the final agenda where Microsoft is missing) which was much anticipated by the investor community.
– Although for me that sign is important as well, the fact that HTML5 related announcements (as was anticipated in my previous post of Windows 7 slates with a personal cloud based layered interface for touch-first HTML5 applications on the CES 2011 [Dec 14, 2010] post) were postponed has even much bigger significance. Whatever will come regarding that upto the MIX 2011 of April 12-14 will be equally important to clarify the rest of the new strategic Microsoft picture. Particularly I am expecting that Silverlight technologies will nicely join the already known IE9/HTML5 push in a new platform technology setup.
Part I. The SoC support announcement
Microsoft Announces Support of System on a Chip Architectures From Intel, AMD, and ARM for Next Version of Windows [Jan 5], (emphasis is mine):
Microsoft Corp. today announced at 2011 International CES that the next version of Windows will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures, including ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA Corp. [Tegra platform], Qualcomm Inc. [Snapdragon platform] and Texas Instruments Inc [OMAP platform]. On the x86 architecture, Intel Corporation and AMD continue their work on low-power SoC designs that fully support Windows, including support for native x86 applications. SoC architectures will fuel significant innovation across the hardware spectrum when coupled with the depth and breadth of the Windows platform.
At today’s announcement, Microsoft demonstrated the next version of Windows running on new SoC platforms from Intel running on x86 architecture and from NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments on ARM architecture. The technology demonstration included Windows client support across a range of scenarios, such as hardware-accelerated graphics and media playback, hardware-accelerated Web browsing with the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer, USB device support, printing and other features customers have come to expect from their computing experience. Microsoft Office running natively on ARM was also shown as a demonstration of the potential of Windows platform capabilities on ARM architecture.
SoC architectures consolidate the major components of a computing device onto a single package of silicon. This consolidation enables smaller, thinner devices while reducing the amount of power required for the device, increasing battery life and making possible always-on and always-connected functionality. With support of SoC in the next version of the Windows client, Microsoft is enabling industry partners to design and deliver the widest range of hardware ever.
Next Version of Windows Will Run on System on a Chip (SoC) Architectures from Intel, AMD and ARM [Jan 5]
(emphasis is mine) Q&A: In a technology preview at CES, Microsoft demonstrates Windows running on new SoC x86 and ARM-based systems.
The Microsoft News Center team talked with Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, in advance of the announcement.
Microsoft News Center: Can you give us an overview of what led you to make this announcement today and what the specific news is?
Sinofsky: We are making this announcement now to allow greater collaboration across our expanded partner ecosystem so we can bring to market the widest possible set of PCs and devices, from tablets on up, with the next generation of Windows. We’re at a point in engineering the next release of Windows where we are demonstrating our progress and bringing together an even broader set of partners required to deliver solutions to customers.
We’ve reached a point in technology where everyone really does want everything from their computing experience — the power and breadth of software for today’s laptop, the long battery life and always-on promise of a mobile phone, and the possibilities from a new generation of tablets. Bringing these capabilities together to meet customer demand requires innovation in hardware as well as a flexible, evolving software platform to bring it to life.
Microsoft News Center: Tell us about your partners on ARM-based systems. How were they selected and what do they bring to the table?
Sinofsky: It takes experienced partners to help deliver Windows to a whole new set of devices and we’re pleased NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments have joined us in this technology demonstration. We look forward to even more robust collaboration between silicon partners and a broader set of partners as we work together to bring new PCs and devices – from tablets on up – to market with the next version of Windows.
Microsoft News Center: You’ve talked about these new systems being ready for the next version of Windows. What does this mean for future hardware innovation on Windows 7?
Sinofsky: Windows 7 continues to be extraordinarily well-received by customers – consumers and businesses – using a broad selection of PCs for a wide variety of usage scenarios. There is no better place to see this array of choice and innovation than at a show like CES. At the Windows 7 launch, we saw a terrific line-up of new offerings from partners, and this CES brings another wave of great Windows 7 PCs across a wide range of form factors and capabilities, including new designs on Intel’s 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family and AMD’s Fusion APUs. OEMs are delivering great designs and personalized selection across the wide range of PCs including convertibles, gaming rigs, all-in-ones, ultraportables, everyday laptops, and tablet PCs. We know we’ll see additional waves of hardware innovation over the next several seasons as well and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners.
Microsoft News Center: What exactly are you demonstrating today as part of this announcement with respect to Windows on ARM?
Sinofsky: Today’s demonstrations will highlight the work we have done on the architecture of Windows to enable the richness of the Windows platform to run natively on the ARM platform. That includes support across a full range of scenarios like hardware accelerated media playback, hardware accelerated Web browsing with the latest Internet Explorer, USB device support, printing, and other features customers have come to expect from their computing experience.
The underlying architecture and engineering work includes a significant set of capabilities to run natively on ARM across the low-level subsystems of Windows as we bring Windows together with this new hardware platform.
Today’s demonstration represents the first showing of the next release of Windows. We know many of our most enthusiastic supporters are interested in learning more about the user interface, programming APIs, and other new features to come in Windows. The announcement today is just the start of our dialog with a broad community around Windows and, as with Windows 7, we will be engaging in the broadest pre-release program of any operating system. So there is a lot more to come.
Microsoft News Center: What can you tell us about Office on ARM?
Sinofsky: We’re committed to making sure that Windows on SoC architectures is a rich Windows experience. Microsoft Office is an important part of customers’ PC experience and ensuring it runs natively on ARM is a natural extension of our Windows commitment to SoC architectures.
Microsoft News Center: What else can you say about the next version of Windows?
Sinofsky: What we showed today was a technology preview of how Windows can adapt to run on SoC architectures. We are making this announcement now to enable our silicon partners, including new ARM partners, to collaborate across the ecosystem to bring innovation to market with the next version of Windows. We’re hard at work on all the aspects of the next version of Windows and we’ll share more information when the time is right.
Update: Intel CEO Paul Otellini addresses Microsoft’s ARM move in the wake of record earnings announcement [Jan 13] (emphasis is mine)
The plus for Intel is that as they unify their operating systems we now have the ability for the first time, one, to have a designed-from-scratch, touch-enabled operating system for tablets that runs on Intel that we don’t have today; and, secondly, we have the ability to put our lowest-power Intel processors, running Windows 8 or the next generation of Windows, into phones, because it’s the same OS stack. And I look at that as an upside opportunity for us.
On the downside, there’s the potential, given that Office runs on these products, for some creep-up coming into the PC space. I am skeptical of that for two reasons: one, that space has a different set of power and performance requirements where Intel is exceptionally good; and secondly, users of those machines expect legacy support for software and peripherals that has to all be enabled from scratch for those devices.
Part II. The Steve Ballmer CES 2011 opening keynote and all other Microsoft related
– Footage from the Microsoft keynote with some relevant keynote transcript excerpts included
– New Windows Laptops, Tablets and Slates Showcased
– The Next Generation of Microsoft Surface – LCDs That Can ‘See’
– New Xbox Avatar Capabilities on Display
– Copy-and-Paste Coming to Windows Phone 7
– Additional details for the three PCs demonstrated in the keynote
– Other new PCs
– Hardware acceleration for cloud clients (browsers etc.): AMD Fusion APUs, NVIDIA GeForce 500M [Jan 14]
– Xbox and Surface 2 additional information
– Windows Embedded Standard 7: the first wave of OEM partners exploiting the included Windows Media Center
See more in my CES 2011 presence with Microsoft moving to SoC & screen level slot management that is not understood by analysts/observers at all [Jan 7, 2011] report.
Follow-up: Core post: NOOK Media LLC: the finalization of the strategic joint venture between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft [Oct 6, 2012]
Ammunition Teams with Barnes & Noble on All-New NOOK [May 24, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Ammunition’s long-standing partnership with Barnes & Noble reached a milestone today with the announcement of the All-New NOOK, the ground up redesign of the company’s successful NOOK digital reader. Working alongside the world’s largest book retailer, Ammunition developed product concept, industrial design, and packaging for the All-New NOOK, the third e-reader and electronic publishing device to join the NOOK product line.The challenge for the All-New NOOK was to create a lower cost, full featured e-reader and to do so on a timeline that would allow it to move to market quickly. The result is a $139 device that uses eInk technology, a touch interface, and wireless connectivityto create a more immersive and personal reading experience for users. With its simple, soft, rubberized form and refined details, the All-New NOOK is by far the smallest and lightest dedicated e-reading tablet to come to market to date.Pre-orders are available at Barnes & Noble retail and online stores with a ship date on or about June 10, 2011.
NOOK work [by Ammunition]
… In addition, our team provided the retail packaging accessory strategy for NOOK Color.
The NOOK website
Highly recommended event report: Barnes & Noble Nook announcement of new ereader [TeleRead, May 24, 2011] (only a few excerpts are here, emphasis is mine)
Nook Color is the best selling Android tablet in the US and second only to the Ipad in overall tablet sales.
Compared to Kindle 3: no buttons and optimized interface makes it faster and easier to use; same size display as Kindle with 10% less size and bulk; countoured form factor so it is shaped to the hand, uses soft-touch paint; twice the battery life of the Kindle; Kindle uses reflash to change pages and until now this was the only option to address the ghosting effect, the new Nook is 85% faster.
Touch screen uses infra-red technology. Design goal was that technology should disappear to make reading as much like a book as possible. Will display how many pages left in a chapter. 6 different fonts with 7 different sizes. The shop screen will give readers recommendations based on what you are currently reading. WiFi but no 3G. Will connect automatically to AT&T hotspots.
Questions: WiFi is the dominant share in readers so went with that also helped keep the cost down. 800 MHz TI Omap chip [the same as in the Nook Color]. In hearing from customers battery life was always 1 or 2 in requirements. Two months is based on 1/2 hour reading per day with WiFi off. Nook apps only available on the Nook Color – this is a pure and simple device. Uses Android 2.1. Expandable up to 32Gb. Old Nook device will be discontinued. Don’t expect it to cannibalize Nook Color sales because is aimed at a different market segment. Research suggests that some people will buy both products for different members of family. In next 3 to 5 years physical books will continue to dominate the market. Store sales are not declining. For touch screen worked with Neo Node. Digital revenue is fastest growing part of B&N revenue, by far. No ads on Nooks. Surprised at how well Apps have done. Store managers by slightly less than 1/3 of their books regionally.
Barnes & Noble Partners with Leading Content Providers and Developers to Launch NOOK Apps™ for NOOK Color™, Best Reader’s Tablet™ [April 25, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
– NOOK Developer™ Program Brings Popular, High-Quality Applications For Customers to Play, Learn, Connect and More on Award-Winning Device
– Major NOOK Color Software Update Expands Best-In-Class Reading Experience with Most Requested Tablet Features Including Shopping For Apps in NOOK Bookstore™
NOOK Apps were introduced with the major NOOK Color software update launched today (available at no cost at www.nookcolor.com/update). The update delivers what customers want: shopping for popular apps, full-featured built-in email, an enhanced Web experience, as well as new ways for adults and children to enjoy rich content. NOOK Color v1.2 includes a platform upgrade to Android OS 2.2/Froyo, along with support for AdobeŽ AIRŽ and Adobe FlashŽ Player.
… Built on the Android OS, it is fast and easy for third-party developers to deploy existing Android-based apps to NOOK Color’s open eReading platform. With the v1.2 update, Adobe AIR is available pre-installed on the NOOK Color eReading platform, allowing developers to create and deliver rich and interactive applications for NOOK Color using tools in Adobe Creative SuiteŽ 5.5 including Flash Builder™ 4.5, and Flash Professional CS 5.5. Developers can learn more about the tools and resources available to create AIR and native Android applications for NOOK Color on the NOOK Developer portal.Barnes & Noble will continue to work with the development community – including the program’s more than 5,000 registered parties – to bring NOOK Color customers the highest quality apps, through a simple, organized method of discovery through the Shop experience. The number of NOOK Apps will continually expand as new applications are added to the growing collection. The NOOK Developer program continues to experience strong momentum with hundreds of developer requests to qualify for application submission in the three weeks since Barnes & Noble opened its submission process for qualified registrants and introduced a new suite of tools and services to accelerate application delivery and distribution.
Developers are invited to join and qualify to submit their applications by visiting www.nookdeveloper.com. Unlike other developer programs, there is no program fee for developers to participate in NOOK Developer. Developers who qualify will be able to submit paid and free apps and will receive 70 percent of any paid app purchased by Barnes & Noble customers. Developers also have the option to offer free trials to NOOK Color users.
– Milestone Reached Just One Week After NOOK App Shopping Made Available to All NOOK Color Customers
– Angry Birds, Drawing Pad, Fliq Calendar and Pulse Among Most Popular Apps
– Best Battery Life Ever – Up to an Incredible Two Months on a Single Charge
– Ultra-Light and Compact for Optimal Portability, Lighter than a Paperback
– Full Touchscreen with E Ink(R) Pearl Display Technology for Reading Anywhere
– Optimized Display Performance Offers 80 Percent Less Flashing than Any Other eReader for the Most Immersive Reading Experience
– The Most Intuitive, Easy-to-Use eReader for Everyone
Barnes & Noble Expert Recommendations, Plus the Most Social Reading Experience with NOOK Friends™
– Pre-Order for $139 in Time for Father’s Day and Summer ReadingBarnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, today expanded its bestselling digital reading offering with the All-New NOOK, The Simple Touch Reader. With a full touchscreen, NOOK™ features record-setting, extra-long battery life on the easiest-to-use, ultra-light, portable 6-inch eReader with the most-advanced E Ink Pearl display, and the world’s largest bookstore available by Wi-FiŽ. Now available for pre-order at www.nook.comand at Barnes & Noble stores for just $139, NOOK will begin shipping on or about June 10. Barnes & Noble adds the All-New NOOK, a significant leap forward in the dedicated eReader category, to a product line that includes the bestselling NOOK Color™, the only Reader’s Tablet™. Based on the success of the NOOK product line, combined with focus on the absolute best reading experience, Barnes & Noble now claims more than 25 percent of the digital book market – just 18 months after launching NOOK 1st Edition™.
Barnes & Noble has always recognized the simplicity and ease that the element of touch brings to its NOOK product line, and the All-New NOOK is no exception. With a simple tap to the 6-inch touchscreen, it’s intuitive and easy to navigate, shop and read. Customers can look up words, highlight passages, adjust the font size and style or search by typing on the responsive on-screen keyboard that appears only when a customer needs it. The paper-like E Ink display features crisp, clear text that’s great for reading anywhere, even in bright sunlight. The no-glare display offers 50 percent more contrast than NOOK 1st Edition.
At only 7.48 ounces (212 grams), the artfully designed All-New NOOK is lightweight and thin – 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than NOOK Wi-Fi 1st Edition™. Lighter than a paperback, NOOK’s sleek but durable, compact design (6.5 inches high by 5 inches wide by 0.47 inches deep) makes it easy to fit in a jacket, pocket, purse or backpack, holding up to 1,000 digital books and more personal content using the expandable memory slot. Its ergonomic, contoured design with a soft-touch back makes it easy and comfortable to read, even with just one hand, and for extended periods of time. And thanks to best-in-class battery life, read for up to 2 months on a single charge with Wi-Fi off – that’s twice as long as the other leading eReader available.
Barnes & Noble’s use of the latest-generation E Ink screen and proprietary technology offers unmatched performance on the All-New NOOK, delivering a seamless and immersive reading experience. NOOK offers 80 percent less flashing than other eReaders – whether turning pages, browsing for books or scrolling through your library. Page turns are lightning fast, using the touchscreen or well-placed side buttons, and with the new Fast Page™ feature, just press and hold a side button to quickly scan through content and skip right to the desired section.
“We set out to design the easiest-to-use, most optimized, dedicated reading device ever created and accomplished it with the All-New NOOK,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “Touch makes it simple to use, and the beautifully compact design makes it the most portable eReader in its class. Add to that an unmatched battery life, the most advanced paper-like touch display on the market and wireless access to the world’s largest digital bookstore, and we believe that for readers of all ages, the All-New NOOK is the best eReader on the market, and a great value at $139.”
The World’s Largest Bookstore in Your Pocket
With the All-New NOOK, customers can enjoy a wide variety of digital content, all at their fingertips. Shop for everything from new releases and current bestsellers to classics and more, all in a single search. The NOOK Bookstore™ offers one of the most expansive digital catalogs of more than two million books, magazines and newspapers. Enjoy helpful recommendations from Barnes & Noble’s experts, personalized based on customers’ favored authors and genres, to decide what to read next. Have more than 80 popular national and local market newspapers and magazines from the NOOK Newsstand™ automatically delivered to NOOK the moment they’re released, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA TODAY, as well as Forbes, Reader’s Digest, Discover, Fast Company and New York magazine. All periodicals are available for subscription with a 14-day free trial or via single copies.
Most NOOK Books™ are $9.99 or less, including most of The New York Times Bestsellers, plus there’s over a million free classics. Enjoy more than 100,000 titles from independent publishers and self-publishing authors using Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!™ digital publishing platform. Young readers will find more than 12,000 NOOK Kids™ chapter books in Barnes & Noble’s world’s largest collection of digital children’s content. Sample NOOK Book titles for free and download all content wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection in just seconds.
When customers visit Barnes & Noble stores with their All-New NOOK, the shopping and reading experience gets even better. Connect to free and fast Wi-Fi and browse complete NOOK Books for free through the company’s innovative Read In Store™ program and get exclusive content and special promotions through the More In Store™ program. NOOK customers receive access at more than 24,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as other personal and public hotspots to browse, buy and download new content wirelessly.
Get Social with NOOK Friends
Another way NOOK customers can learn more about great books is through NOOK Friends, an exciting social experience previously available only to NOOK Color customers. From the home page, customers can see book recommendations from friends. See what your friends have posted about their current read, swap recommendations, share reading status, favorite quotes, and much more. Through TwitterŽ and FacebookŽ integrations, right from their current book, customers can tweet the title they’re reading, post on their Facebook wall and see what their NOOK Friends “like” on Facebook. With Barnes & Noble’s exclusive LendMeŽ technology, you can also lend eligible books to your friends at no cost for 14 days, and see and request to borrow friends’ LendMe books.
And coming in the next few weeks, Barnes & Noble will offer a new custom website, mynook.com, where customers can get recommendations from Barnes & Noble expert booksellers and NOOK Friends, access their NOOK Library™, and manage their device.
Read Your Way
Customers can customize their All-New NOOK and reading experience to their liking. Choose from 7 font sizes and 6 font styles. NOOK owners can personalize their device with one of Barnes & Noble’s screen savers or transfer personal photos (JPG, PNG, BMP and GIF) to make NOOK their own, and choose from a complete line of exclusive, new NOOK accessories (www.nook.com/accessories) to show their style wherever they go. They can also create personalized My Shelves to organize their NOOK Library and group reading content similar to their bookcase.
A customer’s entire NOOK Library follows them wherever they go. They can also easily transfer personal EPUB and PDF files to their All-New NOOK device to read documents on the go using the 2GB internal memory or a microSD™ card. Since the All-New NOOK is built on Android™ Operating System 2.1 and uses Adobe technology, device owners can also borrow digital books from their local library, a feature Barnes & Noble has always offered to NOOK device customers. Customers can also read seamlessly, accessing their NOOK Library and sync the last page read across their NOOK devices and their favorite mobile and computing devices using Barnes & Noble’s free line of eReading software (www.bn.com/freenookapps).
The All-New NOOK can be pre-ordered for $139 today and is expected to begin shipping on or about June 10, making it the perfect gift for dads and grads, and a great addition for every book lover’s summer reading wish list. Experience the All-New NOOK at www.nook.com or at the NOOK Boutiques™ and displays in one of Barnes & Noble’s more than 700 bookstores. With The Barnes & Noble Promise™, the company offers unmatched customer support in neighborhood Barnes & Noble bookstores, as more than 40,000 booksellers across the country are ready to assist customers with setting up their NOOKs or choosing their next great read. The company also continues to provide award-winning customer service support via phone and email. The All-New NOOK will also be available beginning next month at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Books-A-Million, along with NOOK Color.
About NOOK™ from Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble’s NOOK brand of eReading products makes it easy to read what you love, anywhere you like™ with a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. With NOOK, customers gain access to Barnes & Noble’s expansive NOOK Bookstore™ of more than two million digital titles, and the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices. The award-winning NOOK Color™ Reader’s Tablet™, the best-value on the tablet market ($249), features a stunning 7-inch VividView™ Color Touchscreen to read all of the content you love, shop popular apps, connect via email, browse the Web and more. The All-New NOOK ($139), the Simple Touch Reader™, is the easiest-to-use 6-inch touch reader, with the longest battery life of any eReader. In Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK owners can access free Wi-Fi connectivity, enjoy the Read In Store™ feature to read NOOK Books™ for free, and the More In Store™ program, which offers free, exclusive content and special promotions. Barnes & Noble was the first company to offer digital lending for a wide selection of books through its LendMeŽ technology, available through NOOK eReading products. Find NOOK devices in Barnes & Noble stores and online at www.BN.com, as well as at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Books-A-Million.
In addition to NOOK devices, Barnes & Noble makes it easy for customers to enjoy any book, anytime, anywhere with its free line of NOOK software, available at www.bn.com/freenookapps. Customers can use Barnes & Noble’s free eReading software to access and read books from their personal Barnes & Noble digital library on devices including iPad™, iPhone(R), iPod touch(R), Android™ smartphones and tablets BlackBerry(R), PC and Mac(R). Lifetime Library™ helps ensure that Barnes & Noble customers will always be able to access their digital libraries on NOOK products and software-enabled devices and BN.com. Barnes & Noble also offers NOOK Study™ (www.nookstudy.com), an innovative study platform and software solution for higher education, NOOK Kids™ (www.nookkids.com), a collection of digital picture and chapter books for children, and NOOK Books en espańol™ (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooksenespanol), the first-ever Spanish language digital bookstore in the United States.
Nook Color e-book reader review from Consumer Reports [Nov 17, 2010]
– Reader’s Tablet™ Now Offering Popular Apps, Email, Enhanced Web Experience and New Rich Content for Adults and Children
– Customers Can Explore One of World’s Largest Digital Bookstores Featuring New NOOK Apps™, More than 2 Million Books, 150 Interactive Magazines and Newspapers and More Than 12,000 Children’s Chapter and Picture Books
– At Only $249, the Easy-to-Use, Full-Featured NOOK Color is the Best Value in the Tablet Market, Offering a Great Alternative to Expensive Tablets
– Exciting Free Software Update Now Available to All Current and Future NOOK Color CustomersBarnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, announced today that it added significant new features and content to the NOOK Color Reader’s Tablet, making what has already been acclaimed as the best reading device on the market, the best tablet value on the market at just $249. With a major update to its bestselling device, Barnes & Noble is delivering more of what NOOK Color customers want: shopping a broad collection of popular apps, staying connected with full-featured, built-in email and an enhanced Web experience. In addition, NOOK Color’s reading experience gets even better with enhanced books featuring in-page video, new interactivity in digital children’s picture books, and now over 150 interactive magazines and newspapers, including new popular titles like The Economist and Food & Wine. All current and future NOOK Color customers can experience all of the great new features in v1.2 now available at www.nookcolor.com/update and provided for free over the air (OTA) via Wi-Fi to customers beginning next week.
“NOOK Color offers the best reading experience of any device, and now delivers the most popular tablet features such as engaging apps so customers can play, learn and explore, free, built-in email, an Android operating system update for enhanced Web browsing and more interactive content,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “With our new NOOK Apps program, we’ve partnered with the world’s best publishers and developers to offer popular brands like Angry Birds, Epicurious, Uno, Lonely Planet, Dr. Seuss, Little Critter and many more quality and entertaining applications. These and other enhancements, plus new ways for adults and children to experience exciting content, make NOOK Color a great alternative to paying double the price – or more – for an expensive tablet. Our easy-to-use, full-featured Reader’s Tablet is available for only $249, and presents the best value of any tablet on the market.”
Introducing NOOK Apps
NOOK Color customers can get even more out of their Reader’s Tablet – built specifically for reading and complementary experiences – with a collection of top quality apps specially designed to take advantage of NOOK Color’s stunning 7-inch color touchscreen and to keep the whole family entertained, engaged, connected and organized. Enjoy great games like Angry Birds, Uno and More Brain Exercise, and stay up-to-date on news and weather with Pulse and My-Cast. Learn new languages with Lonely Planet Phrasebooks apps, and try new recipes with the app from Epicurious. Keep sharp with pre-loaded crossword puzzles, chess and Sudoku. Stay organized with calendar apps, relax with streaming music from PandoraŽ Internet Radio and spark creativity in children with Drawing Pad and more fun apps made just for kids like Sandra Boynton’s Going to Bed Book.
NOOK Color customers can easily discover and download apps in seconds from Shop on NOOK Color, so they can browse complementary apps alongside books, magazines and other content. Customers can explore a growing collection of more than 125 favorite NOOK Apps from leading third-party developers and content providers in categories including Play, Organize, Learn, Explore, Lifestyle, News and Kids. The NOOK Apps offering will continually expand as new high-quality applications, optimized for NOOK Color, are added from the large and growing number of qualified developers and content providers submitting their applications through the company’s new app submission process.
Barnes & Noble offers a selection of free NOOK Apps – including calendar and notes apps, requested by NOOK Color customers – and paid apps, with approximately half of the collection available for $2.99 or less and the vast majority priced at $5.99 or less. Customers will easily find their newly downloaded or preloaded apps by tapping the NOOK Apps button on the Quick Nav menu or Apps section in their library, as well as through the newly refined search. All updated NOOK Color devices will now include NOOK Email™ and NOOK Friends™ apps preloaded in addition to Pandora Internet Radio, Crossword Puzzle, Sudoku, Chess, Contacts and Gallery.
Stay Connected with Email
NOOK Color now helps customers stay connected with the full-featured free NOOK Email application built in to organize Web mail accounts in one inbox. Given NOOK Color’s compact design that fits easily into a purse, jacket or bag, email was one of the most-requested features requested by customers. Connect to Wi-Fi to check and send emails with a full-screen virtual keyboard, making it easier than ever to stay in touch while on the go. NOOK Email works across the top Web mail services including Yahoo! Mail, Gmail™, AOL and Hotmail.
Updated Platform and a More Complete Web Experience
NOOK Color’s update to Android OS 2.2/Froyo offers system improvements, enhanced browser performance and a more complete Web experience giving customers access to enjoy even more video, interactive and animated content. NOOK Color now includes support for AdobeŽ FlashŽ Player. Surfing the Web is even better with the ability to easily switch between larger desktop or mobile Web experiences and enhanced pinch and zoom. Additional enhancements include improved global search and quick settings such as battery indicator, shortcuts to settings and audio.
Enhanced Reading Experience and More New Rich, Interactive Content to Enjoy
Designed for people who love to read everything in rich color, NOOK Color now has even more engaging and rich content, plus a sliding page turn animation, requested by customers. Easily access personal files transferred to NOOK Color on your customized Home screen.
By exploring Barnes & Noble’s more than 2 million digital titles, one of the world’s largest collections of digital reading content, customers will find even more exciting and engaging content to enjoy on NOOK Color.
- NOOK Kids™: Barnes & Noble’s state-of-the-art NOOK Kids digital picture book experience – the first with the innovative Read to Me™ feature – has been expanded with 15 new Read and Play™ titles that bring animation, activities and stories together. In NOOK Color’s innovative Read and Play books, children can interact with their favorite characters and enjoy activities built right into the story they’re reading. Whether it’s drawing with Fancy Nancy or making the dogs go in Go, Dog, Go!, parents and children will enjoy narration, animation and interactivity that fits into the story and plot lines of new Read and Play titles including Splat the Cat, Are You My Mother?, Caps for Sale, Little White Rabbit and more, now available to explore and enjoy.
With more than 350 NOOK Kids digital picture books and more than 12,000 children’s chapter books, Barnes & Noble offers the world’s largest collection of digital content for children. Children can choose stories featuring popular characters like Nickelodeon’s Dora The Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, and Disney favorites like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Snow White and Cars.
- NOOK Books™ Enhanced: Watch that appetizing recipe being made step-by-step or learn how to perfect yoga poses with embedded video and audio in cookbooks, health and fitness, biography, photography and travel books, along with other interactive content on NOOK Color. With more than 225 multimedia titles (and growing), Barnes & Noble offers instructive content including Knitting for Dummies, You: Raising a Child and ELLE: Workout Yoga starring Brooklyn Decker. Learn more about bestselling books from authors including David Baldacci, Pat Conroy, Russell Brand, Keith Richards and many more.
- NOOK Newsstand™: Dozens more favorite magazines and newspapers are now available on NOOK Color – the first reading device to offer popular newsstand titles in rich, full color. From Us Weekly and Elle to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, NOOK Newsstand delivers your morning paper and latest magazines right to your NOOK Color, ready to read in an amazing new way. With enhancements to magazine navigation on NOOK Color, it’s even easier to enjoy the full-color, digital edition of the print magazine, including Barnes & Noble’s innovative ArticleView™ feature. Barnes & Noble continues to build its NOOK Newsstand offering, now with more than 150 top full-color magazines and newspapers including recent additions such as OK! Magazine, ESPN The Magazine, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Kids, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Dwell, Outside, Saveur, The Onion, PC Gamer, Family Handyman and many more. All can be enjoyed with a 14-day free trial, via subscription or purchased in single issue form.
Get Social with NOOK Friends
With the new NOOK Friends App (Beta), NOOK Color creates the go-to social network for people who love to read, and offers even more ways to connect. Customers can create a group of NOOK Friends to easily swap books, get a friend’s take on a new bestseller, discover great new reads or see if someone’s enjoying a book they recommended on the Friends’ Activity tab. NOOK Color customers can view their NOOK Friends’ content ratings and reviews, shared quotes, recommendations and how they’re progressing on their latest book. Check out all or individual NOOK Friends’ LendMe™ books available and track all current and pending sharing activity. Updates to NOOK Color also make it easy for customers browsing the great content available in Shop to share which products they “Like” on Facebook and view how many other Barnes & Noble customers “Like” it, too.
NOOK Color v1.2 Now Available
NOOK Color customers can experience all of the great new features in v1.2 immediately at no cost via manual download at www.nookcolor.com/update. A free over-the-air (OTA) update will begin rolling out to customers via Wi-Fi over the coming weeks. Experience the new NOOK Apps and other exciting new features at the NOOK Boutique™ or display in one of Barnes & Noble’s more than 700 bookstores across the country or by visiting www.nookcolor.com. NOOK Color, along with NOOK devices, can also be found at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Books-A-Million.
Barnes and Noble NOOK COLOR eBook Reader Tablet [Nov 7, 2010]
Nook Color Goes Froyo [April 25, 2011]
Nook Color Review: Get the Scoop on the Barnes & Noble Nook Color [eBook Readers Resource, Feb 16, 2011]
As one would anticipate, the 7-inch, 1024 x 600 resolution LED-backlit color screen takes up most of the front portion of this reader. Note that the In-Plane Switching (IPS) display utilized here is the same screen technology used in Apple’s iPads and iMacs. Barnes & Noble however, has customized the Nook with its proprietary VividView technology which fully laminates the screen coating, thereby significantly reducing the glare.
… despite its VividView treatment, the Nook Color’s IPS display remains pretty reflective, thus, it still doesn’t quite match up to e-ink technology when it comes to providing a glare-free reading experience.
Nook Color review [Engadget, Nov 16, 2010] (emphasis is mine)
It’s hard to believe we’re already writing a review of the Nook Color, considering Barnes & Noble’s first foray into the e-reader world was revealed just over a year ago. In that time, the company has gone from no presence in e-books to owning 20 percent of the marketshare, and now has moved from a somewhat sluggish hybrid E-Ink / LCD device to a full color, tablet-like product. …
… the front of the device is eaten up mostly with that 7-inch, 1024 x 600 IPS display. …
… As we said, the screen is of the 7-inch LCD variety, and at the 1024 x 600 resolution, looks reasonably dense (from a pixel perspective) with a 178-degree viewing angle. Barnes & Noble is particularly proud of the screen, which the company says utilizes its “VividView” treatment to provide less glare. What that really means is that the screen coating is fully laminated against the display itself, making for less tiny, almost-imperceptible unglued areas which can catch light. Still, the display is pretty reflective, making reading in bright locations (like on a subway with stark fluorescent lighting) sometimes difficult. …
… Web browsers and gaming aside, the main focus of the Nook Color is that it’s an e-reader — so how does it fare in that department?
First let’s get something out of the way. Obviously this isn’t an E-Ink screen, so you have to decide if you’re on board or not for reading on an LCD display. If you’re entertaining an iPad or Galaxy Tab, we’ll assume this screen technology is not going to deter you from using the device as a reader. For us, the display tech isn’t a major hang-up — in fact, lots of the staff have been using iPads as reading devices with little to no trouble.
So as far as screen tech goes, the Nook Color looks gorgeous as an e-reader for standard books and goes one step beyond, delivering magazines and children’s books the way they were meant to be viewed. For standard e-book reading, there are tons of options for formatting, fonts, and coloring — even those with poor eyesight should be able to find settings that make the reading experience enjoyable. We really liked reading with the Color, and even though the device doesn’t sport animated page turns (a la the iPad), it does offer great options for notation and word or phrase discovery (you can do dictionary, Google, and Wikipedia searches right from a contextual menu). We also loved that you’re able to share quotes or info about what you’re reading via email, Twitter, or Facebook.
For magazines, the reading format is a bit different. The full pages of the magazine are displayed on the screen, and you can swipe left and right to move through them. What’s even better, however, is a scrubber (for lack of a better term) that you’re able to bring up just below your magazine content which lets you quickly jump through the magazine and then zoom into a page you want to read. We found this option great for skipping ads. Once in a magazine page, you can zoom and pan to see photos up close or read, but the Nook Color also provides a novel (no pun intended) option called ArticleView which lets you break out text on the page into a strip down the middle of the screen with plain, clearly readable content inside. It’s a great idea that worked most of the time. Sometimes, on pages with lots of captions or cutaway text it didn’t seem to capture everything. As avid magazine readers, we really love the option of a unified method of getting periodicals, and the Nook Color is the first device to actually show that it can be done without a tremendous amount of effort (and surprisingly little lost). There’s clearly room to grow in this area (and a lot of content still to nab — the current magazine catalog is only about 70 strong), but we like where it’s headed. We hate to beat a dead horse, but as with the rest of the interface, the magazine experience is hampered by the sluggishness of the UI.
The Nook Color also offers newspapers delivered daily, but we’re not quite as psyched on the layout of the traditional dailies. We found the page ordering and design of these digital editions confusing and clunky. There’s likely a hybrid of what Barnes & Noble is doing with magazines and what the company does with books for these publications — but the current state of daily papers is a bit of a mess on the platform.
The final piece of the puzzle is B&N’s push into the kids’ book market with its new formatting that not only allows children and their parents to page through full color versions of popular kids titles, but introduces a “read to me” function. The premise is rather simple: a professional voice actor reads the copy out loud through the Nook Color’s speaker, and a child can follow along. We’re sure this will be a quality addition to a parent’s arsenal of options for keeping the kids happy. We did have a few issues with some audio skipping early on in one of the books we tested, but it went away quickly and didn’t return. The kids books also offer a scrubber similar to the one found in the magazine section. One thing of note — loading these volumes takes a little more time — though overall the feature worked as advertised.
PVI Joins Hands With Epson to Produce E-Paper Displays [May 23, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
PVI`s chairman Scott Liu said that the cooperation marks his company`s entry into the commercial and educational segments, indicating that the company`s e-paper displays will be produced for not only consumer use, but also professional purposes in the future.
To achieve better visibility of Japanese and Chinese words displayed on electronic screens, the two parties are determined to jointly develop 300-dpi, high-resolution e-paper displays, which will be mainly used in commercial and educational e-book readers with screen sizes of 11 inches and above and sold in Japan and mainland China.
In the cooperation, Epson will take charge of manufacturing and providing a high-speed display controller platform for e-paper displays, which incorporates a display controller IC, processor, power supply control IC and related software for optimal operability.
Meanwhile, PVI is engaged in manufacturing and promoting the 300dpi e-paper display, which, with screen sizes of 9.68 inches, 11 inches or above, boast lightweight design, low power consumption, and a vivid, easy-to-read display of words and images.
Accordingly, the cutting-edge product has been sent to customers of e-book readers and system integration for certification and will be set for volume production in the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest.
E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 16, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
TOKYO, Japan and HSINCHU, Taiwan, May 16, 2011 – E Ink® Holdings Inc. and Seiko Epson Corporation (“Epson”) today announced the joint development of a 300-dpi electronic paper device with razor-sharp text and images for ePaper Document Reader. Combining E Ink’s high-resolution ePaper display and Epson’s high-speed display controller platform, the new device will enable the world’s highest resolution ePaper tablets. With sharply improved readability and ease-of-use the ePaper Document Reader is expected to catch on in business and education settings where huge amounts of data have to be processed, as well as in countries that use character-based text, including Japan and China.
Thin, lightweight, energy-efficient eReaders with easy-to-read, paper-like displays have won over consumers, who are snapping up ePaper devices in unprecedented numbers, causing the market to surge. Demand has also been on the rise in business and education, market segments that require exactly what ePaper provides: the fast and accurate display of enormous amounts of information. Applications in these segments demand higher resolution than that offered by today’s 160-dpi displays due to the need to crisply render, with smooth gradations, engineering diagrams, illustrations, Asian characters, and other fine or intricate content. These market segments also demand faster page navigation and sophisticated user interfaces to allow instant viewing of vast amounts of data.
“As the adoption of eReaders continues to rise worldwide, the opportunities for our EPD technology are expanding in new market segments including business and education,” said Scott Liu, chairman of E Ink. “We continue to improve E Ink’s technology to meet the demands of our customers and the needs of consumers, and this new EPD delivers the low power, sunlight readability and thin, lightweight form factor users have come to expect from E Ink at an even higher resolution.”
“We developed this device specifically to meet the high data demands of business and academia,” said Torao Yajima, managing director at Epson. “Our IC controller and processing power enables the display to handle large files while maintaining the excellent display control and operability found in today’s EPDs, including fast page navigation and a sophisticated user interface.”
Epson’s high speed controller platform is an ideal choice for developers who wish to develop high resolution eTablets with ease and within a very short period.
The respective roles of E Ink and Epson and the products they offer are described below.
E Ink will manufacture, sell and support the newly developed 300-dpi ePaper displays, which measure 9.68 inches on the diagonal and have 2,400 x 1,650 pixels. These paper-like, high-resolution displays demonstrate in full the very best features of ePaper: crisp and clear text and images on an easy-on-the-eyes screen, a thin and light form factor, and ultra-low power consumption.
Epson will manufacture, sell and support a high-resolution, high-speed display controller platform optimized for controlling E Ink’s high-resolution display. Leveraging Epson’s experience with image processing technology developed for photo-quality printers, the display controller platform combines a display controller IC, applications processor, system power management IC, and firmware to provide excellent display control and improved operability.
Moving forward, E Ink and Epson plan to continue collaborating to promote the popularization of ePaper based devices in the business and education markets by developing technology, expanding and upgrading the product lineup, and providing customer support.
Exhibition plans, high-resolution e-paper device
The jointly developed device will be on display at the E Ink booth at SID, to be held in Los Angeles from May 15 to 20.
News release about Epson’s high-speed, high-resolution display control platform: http://global.epson.com/newsroom/2010/news_20101027.html.
Epson to Provide Display Controller Platform that Sharply Improves e-Paper Product Performance [Oct 27, 2010]
– 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, 2010]
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.