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E-Ink Innovations @ IFA 2014 [lesen.net YouTube channel, Sept 5, 2014]
New commercial products:
- Alcatel E-Ink Cover [SmartCover] –> E-Card (or TCL Phone Cover)
Sony expands SmartWear Experience range with two new additions for Lifelog – SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 [Sony Mobile press release, Sept 3, 2014]
SmartWear Experience is Sony’s vision for smart, wearable technology founded on three principles: lifelogging, flexible style and intelligent notifications
SmartBand Talk is a powerful lifelogger, bringing call handling and voice control from your wrist, with an always-on curved 1.4” e-paper display
SmartWatch 3 is the first smartwatch specifically designed for the latest Android Wear updates
Desktop web interface, and open API for Lifelog app later in 2014, bringing new experiences and further opportunity for personalisation
Announcement of Roxy collaboration for limited edition SmartBand SWR10 styles
Sony Mobile today announced the addition of two new products to its SmartWear Experience range, Sony SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3. Both talk to the popular Lifelog, the accompanying app designed to help you understand more about the way to live and move, so you can improve and enrich your life.
SmartWear from Sony – waterproof* wearable technology [Sony Experia YouTube channel, Sept 3, 2014]Looking for innovative wearable tech? SmartBand, SmartBand Talk, and SmartWatch 3 are waterproof* and wearable 24/7. Log your life, smash your fitness goals, and automatically track activities. The sleek and durable designs in a range of contemporary colours mean you stay stylish – wherever you are, whatever the weather.The time has come to wear Android technology on your wrist. A beautiful stainless steel silver core unit lies within the changeable wrist straps, so SmartWatch 3 changes as often as your wardrobe does. Experience real time life logging and the power to handle messages and calls even when your hands are full. With waterproof* durability, SmartWatch 3 will even work come rain or shine. It’s here, it’s waiting and it’s all in the details.Connect your Sony SmartWear to the innovative Lifelog app on your Xperia smartphone, then automatically track your activities day and night. Whether you’re walking, running, or even climbing stairs, Lifelog tracks your movements, communications, entertainment and physical activity then lets you look back on the day to see where you went and how you got there – including pictures you took and music you listened to. Why track only steps and calories when you can log your whole day?SmartBand Talk from Sony doesn’t just make great arm candy, it can also handle calls, activity tracking, and voice commands. Why settle for good tech, when you have have great tech?Experience the innovative freedom of wearable waterproof technology with Sony Smartband Talk. Equipped with intelligent Lifelog technology that tracks your activity 24/7, a smart E-Ink display and voice control straight from your wrist. Take calls on the run, view appointments at a glance and listen to your favourite music, hands-free.
“Life is a journey, and journeys are made up of stories and experiences that define you – this is the underlying principle for Lifelog, the Android app at the heart of our SmartWear Experience. We’re going beyond mere fitness tracking and number crunching, to help you log and preserve those emotional moments that matter” said Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO, Sony Mobile Communications. ”As a pioneer of smart and wearable technology, SmartBand Talk, SmartWatch 3 and Lifelog don’t merely affirm Sony’s leadership in the space, but as the innovators who dare to be different – bringing the world choice; products and services no else can, or will.”
SmartBand Talk – a powerful lifelogging wearable, with intuitive features
SmartBand Talk is a powerful lifelogger, built for users who live life to the fullest.
With its built-in microphone and speaker, SmartBand Talk comes equipped with a short call function so you can talk into it and hear your caller, with HD Voice support – perfect for when you’re on the move or your phone is out of reach. Through Sony’s integrated Voice Control1technology, you can also assign your own sounds to life bookmarks and use your voice to carry out specific smartphone operations.
SmartBand Talk’s curved, always-on 1.4” e-paper display is a fresh creative approach, based on consumer feedback. It’s low-power but highly visible and clear; you can monitor Lifelog activity, view notifications and the time at a glance.
New built-in accelerometer and altimeter sensor technology feels how you move – and how much – to provide an accurate overview of your daily physical activity; whether it be walking, running or climbing. You can see how active you were and how you have been communicating, as it pulls all of your information from your smartphone and then enables you to view it on its e-paper display screen, wherever and whenever you like.
As you’d expect, SmartBand Talk is waterproof2 (IP68 rated), and launch styles will include Black and White, with extra vibrant colours available later in the year – so something for everyone, whether blending in with your work clothes or a fun accessory to a casual outfit, allowing you to express your individual style.
SmartWatch 3 – Sony’s latest generation “smartwatch”, powered by Android Wear
After leading the market since 2007, SmartWatch 3 is Sony’s latest generation SmartWatch, but the first specifically designed for the latest Android Wear updates in close collaboration with Google. This partnership matches Sony’s leadership in smart, wearable products with Google’s software and platform expertise to create a unique wearable experience founded on both hardware and software innovation.
Android Wear organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask. You can get messages from your friends, appointment notifications, and weather updates at a glance. It could be flight information, tips based on your interests or messages of any kind, so user input is seldom necessary. But if you need to interact with Android Wear, voice is easiest way.
Even without your Android smartphone, SmartWatch 3 is a fun and useful accessory with impressive standalone functionality. The built-in microphone, and Accelerometer, Compass, Gyro and GPS sensor technology means more accurate, more powerful lifelogging.
SmartWatch 3 offers significant step ups from SmartWatch 2, including a 1.6” 320×320 TFT LCD Transflective display for visibility in bright sunlight, set within a stainless steel back panel, for a premium look and feel. It is of course waterproof, rated IP683 – and charges via a standard microUSB port.
It has a built-in 4GB local memory, that means you can sync playlists, and simply connect with a Bluetooth headset to listen. You can do this before a run, leaving the smartphone at home and still have great music offline – you can also track that run with GPS and Lifelog.
It will be available in Classic (Black) and Sport (Lime) editions, with extra colour straps available in Pink and White after launch.
Lifelog – a personal Android application, that captures and tells your story
Downloadable from the Google Play Store, Lifelog is a fun Android app built to enable you to set and achieve goals, bookmark memorable moments, and revisit memories any time, so that you get to know yourself better.
SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 both enable and present lifelogging activity and data on the wrist, but also connect to the application on your Android smartphone via Bluetooth® and NFC, once you connect to your Sony Entertainment Network3 account.
Sony is previewing a new web interface login for Lifelog, accessible from the Sony Mobile website later this year, designed to give users even more visibility and control over their lifestyle data. And, during 2014, Sony will open up the API for partners to integrate services with Lifelog or build completely fresh experiences.
Sony outlined that together with accessories brand Proporta, it would soon share SmartBand SWR10 collections featuring licensed designs from leading labels, Ted Baker and Barbour.
Sony also introduced a new collaboration with famous and popular lifestyle brand – Roxy, the female surf, snowboard, clothing and accessories brand – to bring limited edition SmartWear styles to market later this year.
SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 – the fashionable new additions to Sony’s SmartWear Experience range will launch later in Autumn 2014.
2. Alcatel E-Ink Cover [SmartCover] –> E-Card (or TCL Phone Cover)
From ALCATEL ONETOUCH unveils the [6” phablet] HERO – their headline act at IFA 2013 [press release, Sept 4, 2013]
Extend your display with the E Ink Cover. Read newspapers and magazines on a second screen with this fresh digital experience. The technology enables users to read as if physical ink and paper on their mobile device with the stable image and wider viewing angle.
E Ink SmartCover [prototype] for Alcatel One Touch Hero [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, Sept 16, 2013]
From ALCATEL ONETOUCH unveils the HERO 2 [press release, Sept 4, 2014]
HERO 2: the centre of a smart ecosystem built to users’ needs
With a host of companion devices, HERO 2 adapts to every need. It is the centre of an ecosystem of creative connected devices that users can carry, put on their desk or connect to their TV. An array of MagicFlip covers provide customised capabilities: MagicFlip DJ for music, MagicFlip LED lights up with information about missed calls, alerts or the time.
With the compact companion device Sidekick 2, users can remotely control TV, music and more. It also acts as an extension to users’ phones, allowing them to access messages, contact lists and more. The portable E-Card allows users to read notes, maps, e-books with the comfort of paper. The SmartBook functions as a smartphone in laptop form, while TVLink connects the HERO 2 to larger screens wirelessly.
With these features, accessories and companion devices, ALCATEL ONETOUCH ensures a truly versatile experience through connectivity to multiple screens. Everyone can invent their own personalized HERO 2, and unleash their unique creativity.
The HERO 2 will be available on the market in September 2014.
Reading comics with E-Card [Michael Zhou YouTube channel, July 2, 2014]
There is a nascent e-paper potential even with Onyx E430 Android 4.3″ E Ink phone [Charbax YouTube channel, May 13, 2013] promised for July 2013 delivery from Onyx International (with a 1GHz Cortex-A8 based SoC) having all of its 15+ engineering staff working on Android based E Ink solutions (including the 6” tablet shown in the video as well, although they have no idea yet what demand they could have on the market for that):
See also: BOOX on 2013 HK Electronics Fair [Onyx news report, April 15, 2013]
Imagine what kind of e-paper renaissance may come with this: E INK INTRODUCES MOBIUS, THE FIRST LARGE FORMAT FLEXIBLE DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY TO GO INTO MASS PRODUCTION [press release, May 13, 2013]
May 13, 2013 – Cambridge, MA — E Ink® Holdings, “E Ink” (8069.TW), a digital signage and display visionary, today announced the upcoming release of E Ink Mobius, a new flexible electronic paper display (EPD) technology. E Ink Mobius will be the first flexible display technology that will go into mass production for a large format digital paper product based on flexible Thin Film Transistor (TFT) technology developed by Sony.
Mobius uses a TFT technology that will enable the development of much lighter and rugged products. Mobius displays can weigh less than 50% of the weight of an equivalent glass based TFT. This is particularly important for mobile products requiring larger display areas. A 13.3″ display weighs approximately 60 grams.
The ruggedness and lightweight characteristics of Mobius are due to the TFT being constructed on a plastic substrate rather than traditional glass. The technology was developed by Sony specifically for use with EPDs in cooperation with E Ink. Sony has now transferred the technology to E Ink for mass production. E Ink will start mass production of the world’s first 13.3 flexible EPD display in 2013.
“We have been working with Sony for over 10 years, and we are extremely happy to bring this technology to mass production,” said Giovanni Mancini, director of product management for E Ink Holdings. “Development of this new digital paper product by Sony confirms our belief that the ePaper market is still strong.”
Learn more about E Ink’s Mobius display technology and Sony’s digital paper product, which is the first prototype to use Mobius, by visiting the Sony booth during the 4th Educational IT Solutions Expo (EDIX) from May 15-17, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan; or by visiting the E Ink booth at the upcoming Society for Information Display (SID)’s Display Week 2013 International Symposium and Exhibition from May 21-23 in Vancouver, Canada.
About E Ink Holdings
Founded in 1992 by Taiwan’s leading papermaking and printing group YFY (1907.TW), E Ink Holdings Inc. (8069.TW) is the pioneer of TFT and ePaper business in Taiwan. Its corporate philosophy aims to deliver revolutionary products, user experiences, and environmental benefits through advanced technology development. This vision has led to its continuous investments in the field of ePaper display as well as its 2008 acquisition of Hydis Technologies, manufacturer of the world’s best wide viewing angle LCDs and its 2009 acquisition of E Ink Corporation, the worldwide leader in ePaper. Listed in Taiwan’s GreTai Securities Market and the Luxembourg market, E Ink Holdings is now the world’s largest supplier of displays to the eReader market. For corporate information, please visit www.einkgroup.com; for EPD information, please visit www.eink.com / tw.eink.com; and for FFS information, please visit www.hydis.com.
The development of a 13.3-inch “digital paper” aims to achieve “digital paper solutions” [Sony Corporation Japan press release, May 13, 2013] as translated by Google and Bing with manual edits
Sony aims to deliver the digital paper solution for “digitization of documents and materials, including paper” which helps in field offices and universities that use large amounts of paper in order to improve productivity and learning effectiveness by the means of a newly developed 13.3-inch*1 “digital paper” terminal equivalent to A4 size .
Due to delivery, storage, writing and sharing of electronic files that take advantage of the “digital paper” terminal through the network, Sony proposes a new work and learning style.
Easy to write, easy to read digital paper terminal
The newly developed display for the digital paper terminal adopts the latest type of 13.3” and 1200 x 1600 dots resolution flexible electronic paper*2 technology using Sony’s original technique of forming a high precision thin film transistor (TFT) on a plastic substrate. It is as easy to read the fine print on it clearly as on the paper because of the sufficiently large screen while you can carry it easily as well (6.8mm*3 thickness and light body, yet large screen for a mass of 358g). Moreover you can also read in layout and size of a 13.3-inch paper document since it corresponds to A4 size. Furthermore, with adoption of electromagnetic induction method and the optical touch panel technology an accompanying pen can also be applied to the operation of the paging and menus by touching the screen, to write as smoothly as on the paper.
With the file format corresponds to PDF you can save highlights, sticky notes and handwriting with the documents.
In addition, since it is equipped with Wi-Fi function, it is planned to support applications to share files across a network. Furthermore, because it is equipped with a microSD memory card slot*4, you can cope with keeping and utilizing a large amount of documents.
Despite the large screen flexible electronic paper is available for about up to 3 weeks*5 on a single charge because of its low power consumption.
Sony aims to commercialize this new terminal in the 2013 fiscal year[ending March 2014].
*1: 13.3-inch is equivalent to the size of an A4 paper excluding the margin size.
*2: Flexible electronic paper, has adopted E Ink ®’s “E Ink Mobius” technology.
*3: When excluding the pen holder section.
*4: It is not supported to microSDXC copyright protection and function (CPRM).
*5: With Wi-Fi feature off, if you are viewing PDF files (text) for one hour a day and using handwriting features for less than 5 minutes.
Actual operational duration of the rechargeable battery depends on the state of equipment configuration and the environment of usage.
With the aim to achieve “digital paper solutions” late 2013 field trials are planned with three universities
Sony and Sony Business Solutions plan to start experimental implementation of “digital paper solutions” in the field of education by providing “digital paper” terminals to be utilized in the classrooms of Waseda University, Ritsumeikan University, and Hosei University during the fall semester of 2013. The aim is to enhance learning efficiency with the “digital paper” terminal replacing paper and teaching materials used in the university, as well as streamline the process of teaching.
The August 2012 report of the Central Education Council titled “Toward a qualitative transformation of university education in order to build a new future” shows the need for conversion to active learning with interactive discussions and debates, lectures, seminars, experiments and practice.
Sony aims to achieve early implementation of effective active learning by “digital paper solutions” through experiments utilizing the “digital paper” terminal.
Exhibited at the “4th Educational IT Solutions EXPO”
A prototype of “digital paper” terminal will be exhibited at the Sony booth during the 4th Educational IT Solutions Expo (EDIX) from May 15-17, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan.
* Please visit the event website.
Main specifications of the prototype of the “digital paper” terminal
Flexible electronic paper with 13.3-inch and 1,200 × 1,600 dots
16-level gray scale
Electromagnetic induction type pen input for touch screen
Cleartouch Panel (optical)
Built-in memory capacity
microSD memory card slot*4, micro USB port
Support file format (extension)
Complies with the PDF 1.7 specification (. Pdf)
IEEE 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) compliant
Built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Rechargeable battery duration
Up to 3 weeks (when the Wi-Fi feature off)*5
Dimensions (height × depth × width)
233 × 310 × 6.8mm*3 (display unit 4.8mm)
Weight (including battery)
3d party reports of Sony announcement:
– Sony reveals prototype 13.3-inch e-ink slate with stylus, aims to put it in students’ bags [Engadget, May 13, 2013]
– Sony’s Got A 13.3-Inch E-Reader With Pen Input, Which Is Sort Of Like A Dodo With Antlers [TechCrunch, May 13, 2013]
– Sony Unveils 13.3-inch Flexible Digital Paper E-reader [Laptopmag.com, May 13, 2013]
– Sony unveils 13.3-inch e-reader destined for students [Gizmag, May 13, 2013]
– Sony’s 13.3-inch digital paper prototype lets you scribble on e-books [Geek.com, May 13, 2013]
– Sony announces ‘digital paper’: Ultra-thin 13.3-inch flexible e-reader for universities [Digital Trends, May 13, 2013]
– Sony ‘trialling e-ink slate as textbook alternative’ [digital spy, May 13, 2013]
Sony will trial the device at three Japanese universities later this year and plans to bring it to market before the current fiscal year ends in March 2014.
It is yet to be confirmed whether the slate will be commercially released in the West.
And these are only the reports in English. There is a surprisingly large number of reports in other languages as well when one does the corresponding image based Google search on the web. Quite remarkable considering a late view that e-ink is going to die. This is definitely not the view of E Ink, as you could see from their A Tale of Two eReaders [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 12, 2012] video:
And don’t forget the company already achieved “roll to roll” production, so with new plastic substrate technology they will be able to further increase their manufacturing efficiency:
NOOK Media LLC: the finalization of the strategic joint venture between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft
Look back how the NOOK tablet had been started:
Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive [this same blog, May 25, 2011]
while the whole NOOK effort in terms of devices was as as follows:
Note: only Android has been used so far.
Then here is a recent “internal progress with Microsoft” information:
Barnes & Noble Now Hiring Windows 8 Engineers For New Nook Devices [The Digital Reader, Sept 26, 2012]
Now that B&N has their new Nook gadgetry out for all to see, it looks like they are going to turn their attention to their next set of devices.
Yesterday a friend tipped me to a couple new job postings for B&N. The jobs are located at the Nook facility in Palo Alto, Calif., and at least one is pretty clearly associated with new devices, not apps. That listing mentions the Nook hardware repeatedly, a detail which isn’t included in the job listings for app developers.
There’s little to indicate what the hardware will be, or what it will do, but it is clear that B&N is just beginning to build the team. B&N is looking for a “Director, Engineering Windows 8“, and that’s the only 1 of the 2 listings which mention Windows 8 as well as the Nook. The other new job listing looks to be aimed at someone to manage the app developers for Windows 8. Put the 2 together and they suggest that B&N is going to have the new guys build the teams.
What’s also interesting about the new job listings is that one confirms the rumored integration with MS software and services. The Director of Engineering is responsible for:
delivering on our contractual commitments on Windows 8 applications, Cloud , commerce , content integration with the Microsoft ecosystem and for defining and delivering on product strategy of Nook integration with Microsoft ecosystem including Windows, Office, Bing.
To be honest, this should come as no surprise, given that many bloggers jumped to this conclusion when the B&N/MS deal was announced back in April of this year. But it is still a surprise because Bill Lynch said this wasn’t going to happen. Of course, he did use the word “currently” when he made that statement back in May, so it is more than possible that this was always the next step.
Note that since the new NOOKs are based on TI OMAP 4470 SoCs (see later on) Windows RT may quite easily come for them on October 26 as the TI’s platform had been one the ARM SoCs selected by Microsoft for the development of the Windows RT.
More to come below as:
- The NOOK Media LLC: what is it and what is behind?
- Recent announcements about Barnes & Noble’s NOOK business
- About Liberty Media Corporation
1. The NOOK Media LLC: what is it and what is behind?
Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Complete Strategic Partnership in New Subsidiary: NOOK MEDIA LLC [joint press release, Oct 4, 2012]
Includes Barnes & Noble’s NOOK® Digital and College Businesses as well as Microsoft Investment to Advance Digital Reading Experience
New York, NY and Redmond, WA (October 4, 2012) – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced the completion of their previously announced strategic partnership in NOOK Media LLC, a recently formed Barnes & Noble subsidiary and a leader in the emerging digital reading and digital education markets. Microsoft and Barnes & Noble’s strategic partnership in NOOK Media LLC will enable the companies to advance world-class digital reading experiences to the hundreds of millions of customers they jointly serve.
NOOK Media LLC comprises the digital and College businesses of Barnes & Noble and will continue to have a very close and mutually beneficial relationship with Barnes & Noble’s retail stores. The partnership includes a $300 million investment from Microsoft in NOOK Media LLC.
“As demand for digital content continues to increase, we are focused on bringing ground-breaking reading and learning content and technologies to more people in more formats than ever before, including the imminent launch of our exceptional NOOK reading application for Windows 8,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “We look forward to working closely with our new partner Microsoft to add value to their innovative new platform by bringing great reading experiences and one of the world’s preeminent digital bookstores to millions of Windows 8 users.”
“NOOK Media is a leader in developing the next generation of digital reading and we look forward to the company bringing one of the world’s largest digital libraries to Windows 8 devices via their upcoming Windows 8 app,” said Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. “We are also excited by NOOK Media’s product roadmap and expansion into markets around the world as demonstrated by their recent launches in the United Kingdom.”
Microsoft made its $300 million investment in NOOK Media LLC at a post-money valuation of $1.7 billion in exchange for an approximately 17.6% equity stake, with Barnes & Noble owning the remaining shares.
As previously announced, there is no set timetable for Barnes & Noble’s review of strategic options for its investment in NOOK Media LLC. There can be no assurance that the review will result in a strategic separation or the creation of a stand-alone public company. Barnes & Noble does not intend to comment further regarding the review unless and until a decision is made.
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, operates 689 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, also operates 667 college bookstores serving over 4.6 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through BN.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than 3 million titles in its NOOK Bookstore™ (www.bn.com/ebooks). Through Barnes & Noble’s NOOK® eReading product offering, customers can buy and read digital books and content on the widest range of platforms, including NOOK devices, partner company products, and the most popular mobile and computing devices using free NOOK software. Barnes & Noble is proud to be named a J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Customer Service Champion and is one of only 50 U.S. companies so named. Barnes & Noble.com is ranked the number one online retailer in customer satisfaction in the book, music and video category and a Top 10 online retailer overall in customer satisfaction according to ForeSee E-Retail Satisfaction Index (Spring Top 100 Edition).
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.
To understand the meaning of “digital and College businesses of Barnes & Noble” as parts of the new NOOK Media LLC we should include here the corresponding excerpts from Barnes & Noble Reports Fiscal 2013 First Quarter Financial Results [Aug 21, 2012] with segment numbers specifically inserted here on the sideline:
Note that this actually shows that Barnes & Noble transferred all of its loss making and/or investment hungry businesses into the new NOOK Media LLC.
The Retail segment, which consists of the Barnes & Noble bookstores and BN.com businesses, had revenues of $1.1 billion for the quarter, increasing 2% over the prior year.
The College segment, which consists of the Barnes & Noble College bookstores business, had revenues of $221 million during this non-back-to-school rush period.
The NOOK segment, which consists of the company’s digital business (including Readers, digital content and accessories), had revenues of $192 million for the quarter, essentially flat as compared to last year. Digital content sales increased 46% for the first quarter. Digital content sales are defined to include digital books, digital newsstand, and the apps business. Device sales declined for the quarter due to lower average selling prices and production scaling issues surrounding the popular newly launched GlowLight product resulting in unmet demand.
NOOK EBITDA losses increased by $6 million, from a loss of $51 million to a loss of $57 million, as a result of product markdowns on the recently announced NOOK price adjustments, as well as continued investments in the NOOK business.
The formation of NOOK Media LLC goes back to Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Form Strategic Partnership to Advance World-Class Digital Reading Experiences for Consumers [joint press release, April 30, 2012]
Newly Formed Subsidiary to Include NOOK® Digital and College Businesses
New York, NY and Redmond, WA (April 30, 2012) – Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced the formation of a strategic partnership in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary, which will build upon the history of strong innovation in digital reading technologies from both companies. The partnership will accelerate the transition to e-reading, which is revolutionizing the way people consume, create, share and enjoy digital content.
The new subsidiary, referred to in this release as Newco, will bring together the digital and College businesses of Barnes & Noble. Microsoft will make a $300 million investment in Newco at a post-money valuation of $1.7 billion in exchange for an approximately 17.6% equity stake. Barnes & Noble will own approximately 82.4% of the new subsidiary, which will have an ongoing relationship with the company’s retail stores. Barnes & Noble has not yet decided on the name of Newco.
One of the first benefits for customers will be a NOOK application for Windows 8, which will extend the reach of Barnes & Noble’s digital bookstore by providing one of the world’s largest digital catalogues of e-Books, magazines and newspapers to hundreds of millions of Windows customers in the U.S. and internationally.
The inclusion of Barnes & Noble’s College business is an important component of Newco’s strategic vision. Through the newly formed Newco, Barnes & Noble’s industry leading NOOK Study software will provide students and educators the preeminent technology platform for the distribution and management of digital education materials in the market.
“The formation of Newco and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft’s investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business.”
“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. “Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re on the cusp of a revolution in reading.”
Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have settled their patent litigation, and moving forward, Barnes & Noble and Newco will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products. This paves the way for both companies to collaborate and reach a broader set of customers.
On January 5, Barnes & Noble announced that it was exploring the strategic separation of its digital business in order to maximize shareholder value. Barnes & Noble is actively engaged in the formation of Newco, which will include Barnes & Noble’s digital and College businesses. The company intends to explore all alternatives for how a strategic separation of Newco may occur. There can be no assurance that the review will result in a strategic separation or the creation of a stand-alone public company, and there is no set timetable for this review. Barnes & Noble does not intend to comment further regarding the review unless and until a decision is made.
Additional information will be contained in a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by Barnes & Noble.
Barnes & Noble and Microsoft will host an investor call and webcast beginning at 8:30 A.M. ET on Monday, April 30, 2012. To join the webcast, please visit: www.barnesandnobleinc.com/webcasts.
Regarding those written cautions please note that:
– Barnes & Noble Board of Directors Announces Proposal from Liberty Media to Acquire Company [press release, May 19, 2011]
– Barnes & Noble Announces Strategic Investment Made by Liberty Media [press release, Aug 18, 2011]
… Liberty purchased preferred stock, convertible into approximately 12 million shares or 16.6% (after giving effect to the issuance) of the Company’s common stock at a price of $17 per share [a $204 million investment in Barnes & Noble by Liberty Media], and with a dividend rate of 7.75% per annum to be paid quarterly. …
Leonard Riggio, Chairman of Barnes & Noble said, “We could not have found a better strategic investor than Liberty Media. Their investment is a strong endorsement of our overall business and the additional capital will further fuel the explosive growth of our digital strategy.”
“We are excited about Barnes & Noble’s prospects as the leading bookseller in the U.S. and its growth opportunities in the digital world,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media’s President and CEO. “This investment provides Barnes & Noble with capital to grow its business on terms that are attractive for both parties and allows us to play a meaningful role in shaping their success to generate returns for our shareholders and theirs.” …
– Barnes & Noble Reports Record NOOK® Sales – Announces Decision to Explore Separation of Large and Rapidly Growing NOOK Digital Business – Retail Business Grows During the Holidays [press release, Jan 5, 2012]
New York, NY (January 5, 2012) — Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today reported record holiday sales for its NOOK business, including devices and digital content. During the nine-week holiday period ending December 31, 2011, NOOK unit sales, including NOOK Simple Touch™, NOOK Color™ and the new NOOK Tablet™, increased 70% over the same period last year. Sales of NOOK Tablet exceeded expectations, while sales of NOOK Simple Touch lagged expectations, indicating a stronger customer preference for color devices.
Digital content sales also grew briskly during the same nine-week period, increasing 113% on a comparable basis. Content sales are defined to include digital books, digital newsstand, and the rapidly growing apps business.
The entire line of NOOK products have been acclaimed widely as the best in the marketplace, and validate the Company’s first-class digital organization. While the Company has invested heavily in developing its new platform, including recruiting world-class talent and increasing its advertising and marketing spend, its customer Life-Time-Value (LTV) models continue to indicate these up-front investments will create significant value.
The Company expects fiscal 2012 digital content sales to be approximately $450 million. By fiscal 2012 year-end, based upon forecasted device sales, the Company expects annualized U.S. digital content sales will achieve a run-rate of approximately $700-$750 million.
Due to the increased significance of the NOOK business platform, the Company is evaluating its reporting segments. The evaluation is expected to be complete by the end of this fiscal year, which may result in reporting NOOK as a separate operating segment.
STRATEGIC EXPLORATION OF NOOK DIGITAL BUSINESS
In order to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK digital business, and its favorable leadership position in the expanding market for digital content, the Company has decided to pursue strategic exploratory work to separate the NOOK business.
“We see substantial value in what we’ve built with our NOOK business in only two years, and we believe it’s the right time to investigate our options to unlock that value,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “In NOOK, we’ve established one of the world’s best retail platforms for the sale of digital copyright content. We have a large and growing installed base of millions of satisfied customers buying digital content from us, and we have a NOOK business that’s growing rapidly year-over-year and should be approximately $1.5 billion in comparable sales this fiscal year. Between continued projected growth in the U.S., and the opportunity for NOOK internationally in the next 12 months, we expect the business to continue to scale rapidly for the foreseeable future.”
The Company also said that it is in discussions with strategic partners including publishers, retailers, and technology companies in international markets that may lead to expansion of the NOOK business abroad.
There can be no assurance that the review of a potential separation of the NOOK digital business will result in a separation. There is no timetable for the review, and the Company does not intend to comment further regarding the review, unless and until a decision is made.
RETAIL HOLIDAY SALES RESULTS
During the nine-week holiday period, Barnes & Noble store (or “Retail”) sales increased 2.5% over the prior year period to $1.2 billion. Comparable store sales increased 3.4%, on top of a 9.7% increase last year. Retail core comparable store sales, defined as the sales of non-digital merchandise, increased 4.5% over last year.
Book sales were strong overall, fueled by strength across multiple categories. Juvenile titles were exceptionally strong, led by The Hunger Games, Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #6), Inheritance, and The LEGO Ideas Book. In addition, there was significant crossover between physical and digital book sales, including big movie books like The Help, The Girl With the Dragon Tattooand War Horse among the holiday hits. Physical book sales on a comparable basis increased by 4% at Barnes & Noble stores, exhibiting growth for the first time in five years.
The Company’s continued emphasis on Toys & Games led to 30% growth in that area, on top of a 48% increase last year. Top sellers included LEGO building sets, Harry Potter collectibles and games, Angry Birds games and electronic learning tablets such as LeapFrog® LeapPad™ Explorer and Vtech Innotab Tablet.
Barnes & Noble continues to benefit from a consolidating physical book market. The Company benefitted from the closure of Borders stores during the holiday season and now expects the sales lift to be in a range of $200 million to $230 million in fiscal 2012. The Company reinvested the Borders upside in its digital business.
BN.COM/NOOK HOLIDAY SALES RESULTS
BN.com sales increased 43% over the prior year period to $327 million, with comparable sales increasing 52%, on top of a 78% increase a year ago. This increase was driven by continued growth of the NOOK business, offset by a decline in online physical product sales.
The consolidated NOOK business across all of the Company’s segments, including sales of digital content, device hardware and related accessories, increased 43% during the holiday period to $448 million, on a comparable sales basis. A substantial portion of the 70% year-over-year NOOK unit increase was driven by sell-through at third-party retailers as the Company expanded NOOK distribution. This growth in sales with customers at retailers outside of Barnes & Noble stores is indicative of the increasing awareness of the NOOK brand and demand for the product from customers new to Barnes & Noble.
BN.com and NOOK comparable sales reflect the actual selling price for eBooks sold under the agency model rather than solely the commission received. Additionally, it includes all deferred eReader device revenues, and includes device sales to channel partners on a “sell-in” basis net of estimated returns.
The Company now expects full fiscal year 2012 consolidated sales between $7.0 billion and $7.2 billion. Comparable sales at Barnes & Noble stores are expected to increase 1%, Barnes & Noble College sales are expected to be flat, and sales are expected to increase 40% to 50% at BN.com.
The Company now expects full year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to be in a range of $150 to $180 million. The change in guidance is due primarily to a shortfall in the expected sales of NOOK Simple Touch, as well as additional investments in growing the NOOK business, such as advertising to support new products and international expansion in the back half of the year. The Company now expects full year losses per share to be in a range of $1.40 to $1.10.
Although Barnes & Noble was the first to the market with a revolutionary color eReader and has since introduced NOOK Tablet, which has exceeded expectations, the Company over-anticipated the growth in consumer demand for single purpose black-and-white reading devices this holiday. Nevertheless, NOOK Simple Touch saw strong sales this holiday, remains the highest rated eReader in the market, and the Company plans to continue to market this successful product for years to come.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. will report third quarter earnings results on or about February 21, 2012.
2. Recent announcements about Barnes & Noble’s NOOK business
Barnes & Noble Introduces NOOK® for Web, Giving Readers Instant Access to NOOK Books™ from any Web Browser – No Sign-In, Download or NOOK Required [July 17, 2012]
Get Started Today with Six FREE Bestsellers Available through July 26
Barnes & Noble Announces Lowest Prices Ever on Award-Winning NOOK Tablet™ and NOOK Color™ [Aug 12, 2012]
Amazing Products at Best Value: NOOK Tablet As Low As $179 and NOOK Color Just $149
Barnes & Noble Announces Partnership with Leading UK Retailer John Lewis to Offer its Award-Winning NOOK® Products and Digital Content [Aug 28, 2012]
First Retail Partner Announced to Bring NOOK Reading Devices to
UK Customers Through John Lewis Stores and Online Beginning This October
Barnes & Noble Continues its NOOK Expansion into the UK, Announces Partnership with Argos, Blackwell’s and Foyles, To Offer Award-Winning NOOK® Products [Aug 30, 2012]
NOOK Reading Devices Available to Millions of Argos, Blackwell’s and Foyles Customers in Stores, Catalogues and Online Beginning in October
Leading UK Retailer Will Offer NOOK As Exclusive Reading Devices to Millions of Customers
Leading UK Supermarket to Offer NOOK Reading Experience and Products to Millions of Customers Across the Country in Shops and Online this Autumn
NOOK Video™ to Premiere This Fall [Sept 25, 2012]
Coming Soon: Shop Popular Digital Movies & TV Shows Available for Streaming and Download
Content Licensed From Major Studios Including HBO®, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, The Walt Disney Studios, Viacom and Warner Bros. Entertainment to Bring Customers Entertainment Anywhere
NOOK® Simple Touch and NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight™ – Best-In-Class E Ink® eReaders – Now on Sale in UK [Sept 26, 2012]
First Time NOOK® Products Are Available to UK Customers
Starting at Only £79, NOOK eReaders Offer High-Quality Touchscreen and Top-Rated Reading Experience at an Amazing Price
Order Today From Leading UK Retailers
NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight™ Now Available for the Incredible New Low Price of Just $119 – Unbeatable Value with No Distracting Ads [Sept 30, 2012]
Award-Winning First E Ink® Reader Designed for Reading in the Dark and in Bright Sunlight, At Lowest Price Ever
Special Offers Include Discounts on NOOK® eReaders & Tablets
Presentations Focus on the Digital Classroom and New Nearpod™ Mobile Learning Platform on NOOK
Incredible Reading and Entertainment Like Never Seen Before on 7- and 9-Inch Tablets
Designed for Both Personal Use and the Whole Family to Share – Like Having Multiple Devices in One
NOOK HD Offers World’s Highest Resolution Display Ever on a 7-Inch Media Tablet Starting at Only $199
NOOK HD+ is Lightest, Lowest-Priced Full HD Tablet Ever Starting at Only $269
Unbeatable Values for Top Quality Tablets and No Distracting Ads Coming to the US and UK This Fall; Pre-Order Starting Today at NOOK.com and Barnes & Noble Stores
New York, New York – September 26, 2012 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today introduced NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, the lightest HD and full HD tablets. The super-fast and lightweight 7-inch NOOK HD and 9-inch NOOK HD+ feature must-see displays for superior reading and entertainment and an instantly personalized tablet experience for each family member. In fact, NOOK HD boasts the world’s highest-resolution ever on a 7-inch tablet and NOOK HD+ rivals the industry-leading tablet’s display. Starting at the low prices of $199 for NOOK HD and $269 for NOOK HD+, nearly half the cost of the leading large-format tablet, both products deliver an amazing value for customers, with no annoying ads. With more than three million books, a large selection of magazines and apps, and now with newly launched NOOK Video™ and NOOK Catalog™ content, NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ offer virtually endless reading and entertainment at customers’ fingertips. Both are available for pre-order at www.nook.com and Barnes & Noble stores for customers to enjoy beginning in early November.
The fantastic new 7-inch NOOK HD and 9-inch NOOK HD+ are packed with favorite tablet features that the whole family will love:
A Personalized Tablet Experience for Both Individuals and Families
According to research by Barnes & Noble, more than 50 percent of tablet owners share their devices with others in their family every day. Half also say they would never let their child handle their device unattended. Not surprising, given that more than a third of tablet owners report having content on their devices they don’t want anyone else to see. NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ are designed precisely to provide a personalized experience for individuals and their family members, allowing children to freely enjoy all the content they love without happening upon all that mom and dad would rather they didn’t see. New NOOK Profiles™ instantly transform the device in hand to any family member’s very own tablet. With a quick tap on a profile at the top of the screen, the entire experience magically changes into that family member’s personal tablet as their own content – and personalized recommendations – appear on the display. Now mom’s NOOK becomes Billy’s NOOK, becomes dad’s NOOK and so on. In a blink, one device is like four, five or six. Adults can use their personal passwords to easily access their books, magazines, videos, apps and more. Children can dive into their collection of digital picture books, learning apps and kid-friendly videos, while tweens and teens can access their chapter books, magazines, games and favorite TV shows. Enhanced controls with simple settings and password features empower parents to easily manage their children’s access to the Web, content and shopping.
Must-Have Tablet Features
The new NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ are optimized to deliver unparalleled experiences in the areas that company research showed NOOK tablet owners use most: reading, Web, video and email. The reading experience is unmatched, offering beautifully rendered text, magazines in spectacular HD and lightning fast page turns. Thanks to top-end processors, the newly designed Web browser in NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ is super-fast, making it simple and smooth to surf favorite sites with a tap, pinch and zoom. New to the Web, ArticleView™ allows you to customize your online reading experience. Both NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ offer access to a collection of popular movies and TV shows through new NOOK Video. And an all-new built-in email app offers new features in an easy-to-use, clean format that supports a host of popular personal and work-related email services including Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync.
NOOK HD – The Most Exceptional Reading and Entertainment Experience in a 7-Inch Tablet
Best 7-Inch Display: NOOK HD includes a newly invented, brilliant display that delivers the highest quality text, graphics and video experience in a 7-inch media tablet. Packed with pixels, every book read, every movie watched, every game played is rendered in a digital quality never before seen. NOOK HD offers the highest-resolution display ever on a 7-inch tablet at 1440 x 900, with an unprecedented 243 pixels per inch and HD video playback of up to 720p. It’s ultra-sharp with 25 percent more pixels than Kindle Fire HD for a better overall viewing experience. Building on the highly advanced laminated displays first seen in the 7-inch category on previous NOOK LCD products, NOOK HD features the most advanced IPS display coupled with world-class optical bonding technology with no air gap to deliver low-glare and a wide viewing angle for sharing.
Super-Light and a Joy to Hold: Weight matters, and no other leading 7-inch HD tablet is lighter than NOOK HD. By developing a breakthrough design that integrates the display into the device itself, Barnes & Noble eliminated many components to keep NOOK HD super-light, yet durable. At only 11.1 ounces (315 grams) and just 5-inches wide, it’s more than 20 percent lighter and nearly a half-inch narrower than Kindle Fire HD. So, it fits the hand beautifully and is finished with soft-touch paint that makes it comfortable for even a young child to hold. NOOK HD is ergonomically contoured for comfort and slips easily into a men’s suit coat, a woman’s handbag or a child’s backpack.
Lightning Fast: Armed with a dual-core 1.3GHz high-speed processor, NOOK HD is lightning fast, highly responsive and smooth. With its more powerful processor, it’s not surprising that NOOK HD is faster than Kindle Fire HD for a nimble overall experience and 80 percent faster when it comes to graphics processing for smoother, faster animations, renderings, apps experience and more. The 1GB of RAM allows customers to easily zip from one app to another and play movies.
More Choices: The world’s most exceptional 7-inch reading and entertainment tablet is now available for pre-order in two colors, “Snow” and “Smoke.” Starting at just $199 for an 8GB model and only $229 for a 16GB version – both featuring expandable microSD memory storage – customers can pre-order at www.nook.com and at Barnes & Noble stores.
NOOK HD+ – The Lightest and Lowest-Priced Full HD Tablet Ever
Spectacular Full HD Display: For those who want to enjoy reading and entertainment on a larger scale, NOOK HD+ offers a must-see full HD 9-inch display with resolution of 1920 x 1280 and 256 pixels per inch for up to 1080p for movies, magazines and more. The fully laminated display reduces glare and provides excellent viewing angles, perfect for personal or shared viewing. This amazing display rivals the “resolutionary” screen of the leading high-resolution large-format tablet, but is offered in a device that’s more than 20 percent less weight and nearly half the price.
Incredibly Light Yet Powerful: Weighing in at only 18.2 ounces (515 grams), NOOK HD+ is big on display, yet lightweight, easy to hold and take anywhere. It is the lightest full HD tablet ever invented. NOOK HD+ is power-packed by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM for a fast, smooth customer experience, whether browsing the Web, reading books and magazines, watching videos, enjoying apps or checking email.
Best Price Ever for Full HD Tablet: The beautifully designed NOOK HD+, offered in the color “Slate,” features expandable memory for even more storage with options of 16GB for $269 and 32GB for $299 – two astoundingly low prices for a brilliant, super-light 9-inch reading and entertainment tablet.
Both NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ will ship in late October and be available in stores in early November.
“With the combination of the highest resolution screen, lightest weight and expansive access to content rendered in a digital quality never before seen, NOOK HD is the world’s best 7-inch media tablet,” said William J. Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “We designed our larger format tablet NOOK HD+ because we think there’s big demand from customers for a super-light, extremely high quality 9-inch tablet, at half the price of the iPad. Both our 7-inch NOOK HD and 9-inch NOOK HD+ deliver an exceptional customer experience and we enthusiastically encourage customers to go to nook.com and learn more about them.”
Announcing Even More NOOK Content and Services to Enjoy
As part of the launch of NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, Barnes & Noble also announced significant new additions and advancements to the NOOK content ecosystem:
A Growing and Diverse Digital Catalog: The NOOK Store™ now offers more than 3 million books including bestselling books, new releases, classics and enhanced titles with special content; the world’s largest collection of nearly 3,500 best-loved English-language children’s interactive picture books; a growing collection of comic books and graphic novels; and picture-perfect art, photography, travel guides and cookbook titles.
New – NOOK Video: Launching concurrently with the shipment of the new products in late October, NOOK Video offers customers their favorite standard and HD movies and TV shows for streaming and download to enjoy in spectacular color and stunning definition on NOOK HD and NOOK HD+. From major studios, networks and companies like HBO®, STARZ, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers Entertainment, the NOOK Video catalog offers something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Customers will find TV favorites such as Game of Thrones®, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead to movie favorites like Disney-Pixar’s Brave, The Dark Knight and Harry Potter movies. Both devices are designed with an HDMI compatible port to allow customers to easily connect to their TVs to watch movies and shows in up to full 1080p. Videos streamed and downloaded from the NOOK Store are stored safely and securely in the NOOK Cloud™, so NOOK Video content can also be viewed on NOOK devices, TVs, smartphones and tablets via a suite of new free NOOK Video apps. Like free NOOK Reading apps, all-new NOOK Video apps automatically sync so customers can pick up watching right where they left off on the compatible device of their choosing.
UltraViolet™ Support: NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ are the first UltraViolet-enabled tablets, so right out of the box they seamlessly integrate a customer’s compatible physical DVD and Blu-ray Disc™ purchases and digital video collection across their devices. Customers will be able to easily link their UltraViolet accounts to the NOOK Cloud allowing them to view their previously and newly purchased UltraViolet-enabled movies and TV shows across NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ devices, NOOK Video apps and third-party applications. In addition to purchasing a digital version via NOOK Video, customers can shop for DVDs and Blu-ray Discs with the UltraViolet logo in Barnes & Noble and other retail stores, add them to their digital collection, and instantly watch compatible titles from the NOOK Cloud to enjoy wherever they go and however they choose.
Magazine 2.0: NOOK Newsstand™ has the largest digital collection of the top 100 bestselling magazines available for both digital subscriptions and single copy sale. With NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, the industry-leading magazine experience just got even better. A new visual table of contents lets customers view thumbnails of the entire magazine and simply tap the article they want to read first. Magazines feature a super-fast, 3D-like page turn and include built-in hot spots for readers to quickly jump to specific articles and go deeper on a subject or story through audio, video and Web linking. NOOK’s innovative ArticleView lets the reader focus only on the text, customized to their needs. The company also introduced a breakthrough NOOK Scrapbook™, where magazine readers can virtually clip pages of interest and save them in customized digital scrapbooks.
All-New Newspaper Experience: Extra! Extra! NOOK Newspapers have an all-new design on NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ that make it even easier and more fun to read newspapers digitally. Customers can view and choose each of the paper’s sections on the left column to tap and read in a snap. The large selection of daily and weekly newspapers are available through subscription or single copies and are automatically downloaded via Wi-Fi® to the device when available for reading with morning coffee, on the commute home or anywhere in between.
New – NOOK Catalog: NOOK Catalog offers a convenient browsing and shopping experience through a selection of colorful, complimentary catalogs from leading retailers including Pottery Barn, L.L.Bean, Frontgate, Garnet Hill and Harry & David – with 100 top catalogs available this holiday. Customers’ catalogs are delivered magically to their devices when published so they can virtually flip through the pages to explore, tap on a product of interest for more information from the retailer’s Web site and make a purchase. The new NOOK Scrapbook feature can also be used to rip and save select pages in a personalized collection along with other chosen pages saved from catalogs and magazines.
Top Apps: The global developer community has quickly been innovating and adding to the catalog of high-quality NOOK Apps™. The number of NOOK Apps has grown 10x in the last year and 100x since launching and includes all the most popular and bestselling top 100 app titles for tablets available anywhere. NOOK Apps features a wide range of titles for the whole family, including the hottest games, as well as lifestyle, productivity, news, entertainment and reading apps. In fact, only the NOOK Store provides helpful age recommendations for parents and lets customers browse by subject area to find the perfect app for their child among the broadest and the most curated app collection of kids’ educational apps on any Android store. With games and activities focused on language, math, puzzles, reading, art and more, NOOK provides families with hours of playful learning that helps kids make the most of their “screen time.”
Newly Revamped NOOK Store – A Better Way to Shop & Find Content: NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ bring a new level of personal shopping service to the device experience. Customers can tap on the Your NOOK Today™ icon on the home screen to reveal fresh content and personalized recommendations each day. This includes their latest newsstand subscriptions delivered virtually, plus cool apps and new titles matched to their profile.
And just like a great bookshop, the revamped NOOK Store is a place of continuous discovery. The new store experience allows customers to easily shop by department or explore new NOOK Channels™, a pioneering recommendation system that combines the unrivaled knowledge of Barnes & Noble booksellers with advanced algorithmic technology to create an unparalleled, curated browsing experience. Targeted by interest and sensibility, each NOOK Channel programs a rich stream of reading – and soon movies and apps – that includes the latest releases as well as backlist gems, bestsellers as well as offbeat treasures. Customers can browse and shop Channels that will expand their passions for the authors and subjects they love, from Paranormal Romance, War Stories, and Books to Talk About to Jane Austen & Heirs, The New Classics, History by Plot and Books Every Kid Should Know.
NOOK Cloud: All NOOK content is delivered via Wi-Fi and safely stored through NOOK Cloud, making NOOK Books, videos, apps and other content accessible across NOOK, personal computing and mobile devices using free NOOK Reading and NOOK Video apps.
Additional NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ Highlights
Battery Life that Lasts: Both devices feature extra-long battery life optimized for extended use. NOOK HD offers up to 10.5 hours of continuous reading and up to 9 hours of video watching, while NOOK HD+ boasts up to 10 hours and up to 9 hours for reading and video, respectively, all with Wi-Fi off.
Expandable Storage: In addition to generous onboard storage, NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ also feature expandable memory using a separate microSD card (up to 64GB) – another feature not offered on Amazon’s tablets. NOOK gives customers an economical and flexible way to carry their personal content, PDFs, music, videos and more anywhere.
A Better Value, Ad-Free: NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ offer brilliant displays so customers can enjoy their favorite content and personal photos, not annoying ads as with Amazon’s tablets. And with low prices starting at $199 and $269 respectively, always ad-free NOOK tablets are a better value than Amazon’s, which charges customers an additional $15 for freedom from advertising offers on their tablet home page.
Ready for Power: Barnes & Noble also knows that customers prefer to charge their tablets quickly with an AC adapter, every new NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ has one included at no extra cost. Amazon charges $20 for their tablets’ adapters sold separately.
Superb Sound: To deliver excellent audio, NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ are designed with customized speakers and utilize SRS TruMedia™* to create a wide sound field, deep bass, clear vocals and strong midrange performance. Whether listening through the device’s speakers, a pair of headphones or on a Bluetooth-enabled speaker, customers will enjoy a rich audio experience watching videos, listening to music, reading children’s picture books or playing games.
A NOOK of One’s Own: Gallery has never been so personal with instant access to cherished memories from popular photo sharing and social networking sites. Customers can add even more photos to the Gallery from their computer or emails. NOOK becomes each family member’s very own when they pick a favorite photo for the home screen and screensaver for each individual profile – instead of annoying ads. NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ also make it easy to share photos via email or in person, by connecting NOOK to a TV.
Easy to Use New Interface: Both new tablets feature an all-new beautiful “paper-like” user interface that gets customers right into the content they want, and allows quick access into core applications: Home, Library, Shop and Web. The new experience is intended to make NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ the easiest tablets on the market to use, empowering customers to take advantage of its extensive functionality and enjoy a reading experience that far surpasses that of any other tablets.
Stay Connected More Easily: The all-new email app on NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ lets customers stay connected with what’s happening at the office through support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. Customers can check business email and sync calendar and contacts, too. NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ also support email, calendar and contacts syncing for popular services like Gmail, Hotmail and Outlook.com, as well other popular POP3/IMAP email services like Yahoo!, AOL and more.
Experience the entire NOOK family of products at www.nook.com or at the NOOK Digital Shops and displays in one of Barnes & Noble’s more than 700 bookstores and other leading retailers including Best Buy, Target and Walmart, which will soon take pre-orders, and many others. Barnes & Noble offers Always Free NOOK Support in all of its neighborhood bookstores, with more than 40,000 NOOKsellers across the country ready to assist customers with setting up their NOOK devices or choosing their next great read.
Pre-orders for NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ will begin next month for customers in the United Kingdom, as the products will be available there through leading retailers and www.nook.co.uk in late November.
2. About Liberty Media Corporation: see also Asset List
- Wikipedia article on Liberty Media
- Wikipedia article on John C. Malone
who owns a majority of the voting shares and worth of US $ 5.1 Billion (2012)
The biggest chunk is which they are going to separate from the rest as per the LMC 2012 Annual Meeting presentation slides [Aug 8, 2012]
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie and original programming entertainment service provider operating in the United States. The company offers 17 premium channels including the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE®brands with approximately 20.7 million and 34.2 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs in total more than 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels. Starz Entertainment is recognized as a pay TV leader in providing HD, On Demand, HD On Demand and online advanced services for it s STARZ, ENCORE and MOVIEPLEX brands. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation.
Starz Media, LLC, is a programming production and distribution company operating worldwide. It includes the Film Roman, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and Manga Entertainment brands. Its units create animated and live-action programming and programming created under contract for other media companies. It distributes that programming, and programming acquired from outside producers, through home video retailers, theaters, broadcasters, ad supported and premium television channels, and Internet and wireless video distributors in the US and internationally. Starz Media (www.starzmedia.com) is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Capital Group.
– Starz, LLC: 100%
Starz, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers …. and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Encore HD, Starz On Demand, Encore On Demand, MoviePlex On Demand, Starz HD On Demand, Encore HD On Demand, MoviePlex HD On Demand, and Starz Play.
Then come very large companies in which LMC has a controlling share:
– Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: LYV): 26%
Largest live entertainment company in the world, consisting of five segments: concert promotion and venue operations, sponsorship, ticketing solutions, eCommerce and artist management.
– Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS): 17%
The world’s largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates bookstores in 50 states and conducts its online business through BN.com (www.bn.com), one of the internet’s largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than two million titles in its NOOK Bookstore™.
– Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI): 49%
Sirius XM Radio is America’s satellite radio company [in 2011 its revenue exceeded $3 billion]. SiriusXM broadcasts more than 135 channels of commercial-free music, premier sports, live news, talk, comedy, entertainment, traffic and weather to 22.9 million subscribers. We are one of the world’s largest pure-play audio entertainment companies and we are among the largest subscription media companies in the United States. SiriusXM broadcasts to subscribers everywhere they want to listen on more than 800 devices for cars, boats, the home or office, and through a wide range of mobile devices.
SiriusXM offers an impressive array of content that spans virtually all genres and interests, including Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Laura, Jamie Foxx, Opie & Anthony, Bob Edwards, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Jimmy Buffett, Elvis,Eminem, The Grateful Dead, B.B. King, Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, and Tom Petty. SiriusXM is the leader in sports programming as the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the NFL, Major League Baseball®, NASCAR®, NBA, NHL®, and PGA TOUR® and offers major college sports.
SiriusXM has arrangements with every major automaker for installation of satellite radio in their vehicles. SiriusXM products are available through shop.siriusxm.com and at retail locations nationwide. SiriusXM programming is also available atsiriusxm.com/whatson, and on Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, BlackBerry and Android-powered smartphones using the SiriusXM Internet Radio App.
SiriusXM provides premium real-time video, traffic, weather, data and information services for subscribers in cars, trucks, RVs, boats and aircraft through Sirius Backseat TV™, Sirius Travel Link, XM NavTraffic®, Sirius Traffic™, XM Nav Weather™, and Sirius Marine™.
as well as investment companies of the same kind:
– Liberty Associated Partners, L.P.: 29%
Principal investment firm specializing in private equity investments
– Associated Partners, L.P.: 37%
Investment and operating partnership that targets long-term, risk-balanced and tax-efficient returns
then two sizeable investments with full ownership:
– “Atlanta Braves”: Atlanta National League Baseball Club, Inc.: 100%
see: Wikipedia Atlanta Braves article and official Atlanta Braves site
– TruePosition, Inc.: 100%
TruePosition is the leading provider of location determination and intelligence solutions for the safety and national security markets worldwide. TruePosition offers a portfolio of industry-leading location technologies, future-proof platform products, innovative applications, and comprehensive networking and systems services to enable the creation of carrier-grade location solutions for private enterprise and government agencies to protect citizens, combat crime, and save lives.
and a number of smaller holdings (large company but meager share like 1% or smaller company with significant share) according to these logos:
Updates: Reflective OutLook: Shades of Gray or Colorful? [Touch and Display-Enhancement Issue of Information Display, Sept 21, 2012]
E Ink and SiPix
Meanwhile, could color have anything do to do with E Ink’s recent announcement of its intention to acquire SiPix, whose microcup technology does show promise in that area? E Ink will certainly utilize SiPix’s color capabilities, says Sriram K. Peruvemba, Chief Marketing Officer for E Ink Holdings. Peruvemba characterizes that color as having “some of the same advantages as E Ink in that it is low power, sunlight readable, thin, light … .”
Beyond a doubt, one area of interest for E Ink is SiPix’s manufacturing capabilities. “SiPix’s factories, equipment, and infrastructure are relatively newer, which gives us greater flexibility and additional capacity as we seek new markets,” says Peruvemba. Among the markets that the potential acquisition will make more accessible, he says, are digital signage and smart cards.
When it comes to E Ink, it isn’t necessarily all about color, notes University of Cincinnati’s Jason Heikenfeld, who has served as a guest editor for Information Display (and is also a founder of e-Paper up-and-comer Gamma Dynamics, mentioned later on). “We should maintain excitement about the continued expansion of monochrome e-Paper products,” he says. “A quiet revolution continues to take place there. Color-video e-Paper will also have its day, but today we should be impressed with E Ink’s continued product growth and diversification.”
Any way you look at it, with E Ink, whose share of the e-Reader market is more than 90%, poised to acquire AUO subsidiary SiPix, further consolidation in the e-Paper market seems inevitable. At press time, E Ink had reached an agreement to acquire 82.7% of SiPix’s shares and was seeking to acquire up to a 100% stake, valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion [US$ 51.2 million]. [See: Complementary ePaper technology adds to E Ink’s portfolio of offerings [E Ink Holdings press release, Aug 3, 2012]] As DisplaySearch analyst Paul Semenza wrote in a recent blog, titled And Then There Was One – E Ink to Acquire SiPix, “Combined with Bridgestone’s exit [earlier this year] from the electrophoretic display (EPD) business, this means that E Ink, the first company to mass produce EPDs, will be the sole manufacturer of the technology.”
Yet, the e-Paper story isn’t all black and white. In the future, look for news from Liquavista (which Samsung acquired in January 2011) and Gamma Dynamics (a spinoff from the University of Cincinnati). Both companies have video-capable displays (Liquivista’s is based on electrowetting and Gamma Dynamics’s on electrofluidics) that are reported to show more vibrant color than previously available.
Meanwhile innovation in “color inking” is continuing as evidenced by Vivid e-ink makes ditching books a colourful choice [NewScientist, Sept 5, 2012]
… Naoki Hiji of Fuji Xerox in Kaisei, Japan, and colleagues have built a prototype system that uses tiny fluid-filled cells containing cyan, magenta, yellow and white particles to produce almost any colour.
Black-and-white e-ink displays work by having negatively charged black particles and positively charged white particles suspended in fluid inside a cell. Apply a negative electrical field to the cell, and white particles move to the top and become visible; flip the current, and black shows up.
Hiji’s display uses the same principle, but each colour particle responds to a certain intensity of electrical field, while the white particles are uncharged (see diagram). …
No problem with reading on tablets over a long period of time [Eva Siegenthaler on IFeL bloggt, Sept 20, 2012]
“Tablets are not suited for reading over an extended period of time”; this statement is widespread. For example Scott Liu, head of the American-Taiwanese company E Ink Holdings, states that reading over an extended period of time on a Liquid Crystal display leads to increased visual fatigue. “The iPad is a fascinating multifunctional device, but not intended for hour-long reading” (stern.de). In comparison, E-ink readers, with their paper similar displays, are looked at as an adequate replacement for a book.
But is it true that the tablet is an inadequate device for reading over an extended period of time? Critical statements against the tablet as a replacement for the book are widespread but there is a lack of scientific evidence for these assumptions. For that reason, a study answering this question was implemented at the Institute for Research in Open- Distance- and eLearning (IFeL).
In a laboratory study, the participants read for several hours on either E-ink (Sony PRS-600) or LCD-Tablet (Apple iPad), where different measures of reading behaviour and visual strain were regularly (after each hour) recorded. These dependent measures included subjective (visual) fatigue, a letter search task, reading speed, oculomotor behaviour, and pupillary light reflex.
The results of the study show that reading on both display types is good and very similar in terms of both subjective and objective measures. Participants did not have more visual fatigue when reading on a tablet than when reading on an E-ink device. We concluded from this study that it is not the technology itself, but rather the image quality that is crucial for reading. The study shows that compared to the visual display units of past decades, recent electronic displays allow good and comfortable reading, even for extended time periods.
A few critical remarks still need to be made though. This laboratory study was conducted under artificial light conditions. Therefore it is unclear if an experiment under daylight conditions would lead to the same results. Another interesting question is how the sleep quality is influenced by different display technologies.
But still, the result of the study is an important novelty in reading research, and is opposed to many statements from publishers and subjective user self tests, that have stated that tablets are not appropriate for reading over a long period of time.
More information on the study is available online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x/abstract
Siegenthaler, E., Bochud, Y., Bergamin, P. and Wurtz, P. (2012), Reading on LCD vs e-Ink displays: effects on fatigue and visual strain. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 32: 367–374. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x
Beyond the Kindle: what the future holds for E Ink [TechRadar, Sept 10, 2012]
IN DEPTH Ereaders for classrooms, smart locks and dual screen smartphones on the cards
“The ereader market has been tripling in volume since 2007 but not this year,” explained Siram Peruvemba, E Ink’s chief marketing officer, to TechRadar.
“It is partly to do with tablets but the biggest reason is that the economy is off at the moment… we have also seen not as many product launches as last year and the year before.”
“We believe that E Ink will come to home appliances. We are thinking differently – we want E Ink on every surface.
“There are a lot of dumb surfaces around and by adding the E Ink technology we can transform them, by adding a display and making them smart.
“We are going to keep going in that direction, enhancing products. Whether it is animated shelf labels, USB keys… drills.”
“We create a lot of these concepts and some of them go nowhere, while some are picked up” – the company continues to create prototypes to show how versatile E Ink technology can be.
It also seems that sometimes an E Ink device created for one specific market may take on a wholly different guise when it is finally released in the wild.
“One concept that was picked up but not how we originally intended was our E Ink lock,” said Peruvemba.
“This was originally pitched as a bicycle lock, where it could tell you if your bike was locked properly or not. It’s very low powered, just an E Ink display with a hole in the middle. But it just didn’t get picked up; no one in the bicycle world wanted it.”
“And then a company called InVue decided to take it on and use it for cabinet displays, it’s virtually indestructible so no more broken keys – alleviating a problem that retailers have with their cabinets.”
This move away from ereaders doesn’t mean that E Ink is not innovating in the market it continues to dominate.
The latest kindle to be launched, the Kindle Paperwhite, shows that E Ink can compete with tablets when it comes to display.
Using E Ink’s Pearl technology and LED lighting it means you can use your Kindle in the dark, but still offer a screen that’s easier on the eyes – something tablets just can’t do.
One final place where we could see an E Ink screen is on the back of a mobile phone. Again, it’s E ink’s mantra of making a ‘dumb’ space smart. According to Peruvemba an additional screen on a mobile could be exactly what consumers need.
“Most of these mobile phones have nothing going on on the back.
“We can add another display at low cost on the back of the device and offer things like clocks, stock information.”
Peruvemba also hinted: “There are vendors looking into this technology – it is very new but typically we should see this type of concept come within the year.”
Looks like the world is going to be E Ink stained for some time to come.
E-Ink concept double-display smartphone hands-on [SlashGear, Aug 31, 2012]
… What could a twin-screen smartphone of this sort be used for? E Ink has a few ideas, though is leaving most of that to OEMs. An ereader app is the obvious choice, though you could also show a digital boarding pass for a plane (even if you had no battery life remaining on your phone to drive the regular screen), QR codes, or mapping directions. Alternatively, the panel could be used to show promotional information, such as vouchers for nearby stores, or even sponsored messages in return for free call, message and data credit. …
… In 2011 consolidated sales revenues totaled NT$ 38.43 billion [US$1.3 billion], a growth of 53% as compared to 2010. Profit after-tax totaled NT $6.53 billion [US$220.85 million] and EPS totaled NT$6.05, a growth of 59 percent as compared to 2010. … Scott Liu, the chairman of E Ink, said, “… in 2012 we expect to strengthen our competitiveness and continue development of both flexible and color ePaper technologies. Additionally, we expect a customer to launch a high-resolution product with touch technology within this year.”
As to market development, Liu said, “in addition to the eReader market, we are also actively expanding into the education and business markets. …”
Today E Ink also announced the launch of a new global website, www.einkgroup.com, which provides product, technology and operational information for all of the companies under the E Ink umbrella.
Sriram Peruvemba, chief marketing officer of E Ink Holdings, said: “As our businesses expand and products become diversified, we are keenly aware of the importance of integrating our internal resources globally. This is why we decided to launch einkgroup.com as the portal of E Ink Holdings around the globe. This website provides information of product and technology of E Ink Holdings, in which browsers can easily find the information they need.”
Visitors to the site will find a consolidated location to browse the technology, product offerings and company backgrounds for the organizations under the E Ink Holdings umbrella. The site will host the Investor Relations portal for E Ink Holdings, as well as sales and marketing information. In addition to their inclusion in the new website, product line websites, such as www.eink.com and www.hydis.com will continue to host information particular to their technologies and job offerings.
Shares of E Ink under pressure amid market uncertainty [Focus Taiwan of the CNA, Feb 23, 2011]
“Despite record high earnings for 2011, E Ink’s gross margin has been squeezed by price cuts by the Kindle series of e-paper devices of Amazon, which is the largest customer of the Taiwanese firm,” Mirae Asset Management analyst Arch Shih said.
“With market uncertainty expected to continue to impact product prices, I am afraid that E Ink’s profit margin will keep falling in the first quarter of this year,” he said.
In the fourth quarter of last year, E Ink’s gross margin fell 6.8 percentage points to 28.6 percent, while it posted NT$1.28 billion in net profit, or NT$1.19 per share, down from NT$2.08 recorded in the third quarter.
… “Amazon has tried its best to stage a price war in a bid to grasp a larger market share, and at the same time, it has cut contract production fees to its suppliers like E Ink,” Shih said. “This development has imposed a pressing threat to E Ink’s operations.”
“Share prices tend to reflect forward-looking prospects, so it was no surprise to see investors dumping the stock,” he went on.
E Ink said it has become very cautious about its earnings outlook for 2012 and that it is possible its sales and profit will see the largest challenge of the year in the first quarter due to slow-season effects.
Shih said the global EPD market is suffering a failure to expand content to attract buyers and that the problem is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
“I doubt E Ink will have a quick turnaround after the first quarter. Its share price is expected to continue to be pressured,” Shih said.
E Ink reports 33.26% earnings decline [Taipei Times, Feb 23, 2011]
… The decline in profit was because of the higher shipments of fringe field switching (FFS) LCD panels, which offer lower margins than the company’s flagship product — e-paper — E Ink chairman Scott Liu (劉思誠) said at an investors’ conference yesterday. …
Liu said this year would be a “challenging year full of uncertainties,” mainly because of the possible fallout from the unresolved eurozone debt crisis.
“Clients are conservative and said the market visibility is low,” he said, adding that E Ink would no longer provide shipment targets or projections in a response to clients’ requests.
E Ink posts EPS of over NT$6 in 2011 [DIGITIMES, Feb 23, 2012]
EIH plans to launch its next-generation color e-paper products in the fourth quarter of 2012, but the company currently does not have plans to ramp up its capacity for color EPD products, Liu said.
The company is also developing flexible e-paper products, using plastic substrates instead of glass substrates used previously, with new products to be released in the third or fourth quarter, Liu revealed.
Amazon 6″ color Kindle will not be arriving this year [übergizmo, Feb 21, 2012]
Just yesterday we reported that according to Digitimes, Amazon is supposedly working on a 6” Kindle e-reader that will be utilizing colored e-ink. This rumor supposedly came about based on reports that E Ink Holdings had landed an order from Amazon for 6” color e-reader modules, but Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader, who’s had a pretty decent track record when it comes to these rumors, doesn’t seem to think so.
According to Nate who contacted his source at E Ink, this is completely untrue. His source told him that if Amazon were indeed planning a color e-reader, they would only be able to start shipping them in a year’s time, because that would be how long it would take Amazon to set up a new production line for this rumored device.
He also revealed that while E Ink has been making the Triton screens for years, it has mainly been the 9.7” model and not one in the 6” variety like the rumors had suggested and can be found in the Ectaco Jetbook Color. For now it looks like if you had hopes for a 6” color Amazon Kindle e-reader this year, you could be out of luck but we’ll be keeping our eyes open either way.
End of updates
EPD maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) reportedly has landed orders for 6-inch color e-book reader modules from Amazon with shipments to begin in March, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.
Shipments of the touched-enabled e-book reader modules are expected to top three million units a month, the paper said.
EIH is to reveal its financial results for 2011 at an investors conference on February 22, said the paper, which added that EIH is expected to report an EPS of over NT$6 (US$0.2) for the year.
At: E Ink lands 6-inch color e-book reader module orders from Amazon, says paper [Feb 20, 2012]
So, E Ink’s business seems to expand quite well along the traditional e-book reader direction. But what is the more general business direction? In this post I am giving the answer.
Before that it is also worth to go through the previous posts: E Ink Holdings EPD prospects are good [April 30, 2011 – Jan 9, 2012], Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive [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 premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel [Dec 21, 2010].
The marketing idea of E Ink as a technology for all kind of smart surfaces came up in 2008 at the E Ink Corporation when it was an organization independent of any EPD panel manufacturers:
“Fashion is a key driver in today’s world,” said Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of Marketing, E Ink Corp. “E Ink offers a smart surface that changes the design and brings mobile phones to the fashion forefront of technology.”
See: E INK ANNOUNCES MOBILE PHONE DESIGN WINS IN JAPAN [July 22, 2008]
When in 2010 it was acquired by the leading EPD panel manufacturer (then called Prime View International, immediately renamed as E Ink Holdings) that idea was picked up by the new owner as well and even extended into a kind of a general vision:
“The E Ink name is synonymous with the ePaper industry that we pioneered and in which we enjoy a leadership position,” said Dr. Scott Liu, Chairman and CEO of E Ink Holdings Incorporated. “We are now a globally recognized brand name and aim to have our displays on every smart surface.”
See: PRIME VIEW INTERNATIONAL (PVI) IS NOW E INK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED [June 18, 2010]
And now at CES 2012 we had a full manifestation of that marketing concept:
The above note produced by the author of video, Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, is not meant to elaborate all the talk by the Chief Marketing Officer of E Ink Holdings Sriram Peruvemba (or Sri Peruvemba). Since this post is about the strategic value proposition of E Ink I had to compose a note of my own which also corresponds to the order of presentation by Sri Peruvemba on the Charbax video:
- Amazon Kindle lineup, most used in the area of leasure reading.
- The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson, going beyond publishing into what they are calling e-document space. Their plan is to replace electronic forms that are used by different folks with their laptops replacing printed paper, pads of paper and that sort of the things. These devices will have WiFi support, pen input and ability to edit. Some applications you may imagine are in inventory logistics, in the doctor’s office, and attorneys and other office people carrying this. They can put a number of images on them which would be very suitable for this 300DPI display, e.g. circuits, graphs, charts, maps and that sort of things. This has almost twice the resolution of the most of the other displays they are shipping which have a 167 to 200DPI resolution.
- With E-Ink technology they are at the point where it is better than reading on printed paper [for B/W]. Now they have pen input available on their devices thus replacing both printed paper and pen with their products. The idea here is to allow people to highlight, annotate, write notes and use it to fill-out forms. The E-Ink display would come into play during this (not the processor is the “limiting factor”) in the B/W case the native speed can be used which is 250 msec response time for the E-Ink display.
- Color E-Ink display based on the Triton display material. ECTACO JetBook Color, an actually shipping device is shown. It is being deployed in Russian schools as replacement for textbooks. They are still in early stages of deployment with this device but see a lot of promise in the education sector. They expect the education to be one of the largest markets for E-Ink, both the monochrome and color Trident display. A devices like this ECTACO JetBook Color is not simply replacement for textbooks but in fact it is a library. You can put a thousand books or more on any one of these devices and replacing the library. Literally every student has a library of his/her own. It also increases the interaction between the student and the teacher. Tests are created and assessed almost instantenously. Another point is that the color feature in the EPD display allows to convey more information and so students have much better learning tool than they had with printed books. Also books will never be out of the stock, there will be no late fees with the library and the content is available 24×7 etc. As far as the price of the color display is concerned the color is still based on the monochrome display, they put a color filter on top. So the color filter is an additional cost but most of the additional costs on the device itself would probably be the cost of the software (from E-Ink Holdings’ customer engineering the device) that makes the additional features of a colored device possible compared to the monochrome.
- Triton color display for signage (like the large billboards put on the streets) with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. This is all the result of a significant increase of the pixel size when significantly more light is coming to each pixel. They are looking at applications at signage space where you are looking at a device not from 6″ away but to a device that is 6 feets or 60 feets awaywhere the larger pixels are perfect for that.
- Brief showing of the SURF display (used in a hand drill shown later) just to demonstrate the display materialfor that case.
- The actual E-Ink display material is extremely thin and flexible like a sheet of transparency foil. This is the direction they are going to make display without glass and conform to non-flat surfaces, getting into non-publishing applicationslike signage.
- A concept power drill with the SURF display put on the surface as a case of showing the usefullness of an EPD display for a battery powered device when otherwise you would have no idea about whether there is enough battery power left or not. This could be quite an annoyance when you climb up a ladder and in the process you discover that the battery power to work with the drill drained down too soon. They can cut the display material in a needed shape so the display can be non-rectangular. E.g. a wrist watch is shown where the display material is round shaped. E-Ink is very unique in this respectamong the display technologies.
- Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched that week was demonstrated, it is meant for outdoor applications and considered to be virtually indestructible. It combines the solar technology with the E-Ink display, and essentially all of the solar power is used to listen to music rather than showing information. Considered to be a perfect combination for applications like that and they foresee many more deployments like that in the future.
- A couple of wristwatches. With a segmented SURF display which is curved and in a unique shape (a Phosphor device). Then a matrix display in a Seiko watch where you can have images changedon the display.
- For segmented display they can go for very low volumes because that kind of display doesn’t involve fabricating the backplane in a fab. But on the other hand the matrix displays (for which much larger order volumes are required) can be made in very large sizes since they are making their display material in rolls, seven feet wide and going a kilometer long. So a lot of new applications will come up, in areas where display technology hasn’t been used before. Then their unique selling point is the ruggedness of the E-Ink display material as well.
After that it is worth to watch the following, very recent branding/directional videos from E Ink Holdings:
- Imagine… a classroom with no paper… Build an eLearning environment
- Imagine… a schoolbag with no book… Build an eLearning environment
- Imagine… A ubiquitous home… Build an eLearning environment
- E Ink – The First Law of More – Innovation:
E Ink – More 的第一法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
- states: the more you See, the more you Do
- … Evolution is a collaborative process …
- We’ve teamed up with some of the best names in the electronics business like: Epson, Freescale, Marvell Semiconductor and Texas Instruments to create an electronics ecosystem that will nurture the E Ink innovations of the future.
- We’ve joined forces with some of the most iconic brands in the world including Sony, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Samsung, Lexar and Motorola to bring an exiting new generation of consumer products to life.
- We believe more innovation brings more good into the world. As an 840 million dollar [US] company we intend to do everything we can to make a big difference.
- The Second Law of More – Growth:
E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
- states: the more you Do, the more you Grow
- 100,000 displays in 2006 … over 10 million in 2010 …
- today almost every e-book device on the market uses E Ink enabled reflective displays
- Tomorrow we expect to lead the way in e-textbooks, providing a libray in every student’s backpack. And a few years down the road we see ourselves in signage of all shapes and sizes.
- The next generation of E Ink applications is being developed as we speak: the paperless office, electronic toll passes, sporting goods, musical score sheets, personal medical devices, and more.
- Look at the future from our vantage point. You’ll see why we are excited.
- The Third Law of More – Green:
E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
- states: the more you Grow, the more you Care
- Care = Save In more ways than you can imagine
- E-Ink display use 97% less energy than the LCD versions
- Under normal conditions an E Ink enabled e-reader runs three weeks on a single charge. That is supposed to be a day and a half on an LCD display.
- A recent study from the University of California Berkely shows that an E Ink enabled electronic newspaper releases 32 – 140x less CO2than its paper counterpart. What’s more, e-book saved trees by drastically reducing the consumption of paper.
- This year sales of e-books are predicted to top 1 billion [US] dollars, more than 10x increase over last year. …
– ECTACO jetBook Color introduced in Russian Schools – цветная эл.книга [ECTACO YouTube channel, Dec 2, 2011]
– William (Bill) Wong, staff technology editor from Electronic Design – focusing on embedded, software, and systems otherwise – who is an ardent follower of E Ink’s progress. For more E Ink related information you can watch his two Engineering TV Videos and a few Electronic Design excerpts given below:
- Smart Surface Devices and More from E Ink – CES 2012[Engineering TV, Jan 17, 2012]
- Color Active Matrix E Ink Triton Imaging Film [Engineering TV, Jan 11, 2011]
Behind the Scenes at CES 2012 – Display Technology [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 25, 2012]
Eink’s electronic paper display (EPD) is popular with e-readers and it has been used on other devices such as Lexar’s JumpDrive flash that shows the amount of space used on the drive. The display uses no power when not plugged in and draws only a tiny amount when updating the display. Eink was showing off color demos and EPD prototype applications. It is a technology worth investigating for embedded applications.
Cortex-A9 Incorporates Electronic Paper Display Controller [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 18, 2012]
E-readers with electronic paper displays (EPDs) provide an excellent reading experience. But most of these e-readers have been underpowered compared to smart phones and tablets. E-reader manufacturers try to keep costs low, which is why processor performance has been lower.
Freescale’s i.MX 6SoloLite and i.MX 6DualLite target these low-cost products with one or two 1-GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores. Developers will have to decide whether the i.MX 6SoloLite’s 2D graphics are sufficient or if they require the 3D graphics support of the i.MX 6DualLite. Likewise, the 6SoloLite has a 32-bit DDR3 controller, while the 6DualLite has a 64-bit DDR3 controller for a higher-performance platform. Both support LP-DDR2 memory along with a range of flash memory.
The i.MX 6DualLite has a single shader, compared to the four 3D shaders found in the higher-end i.MX 6Dual and i.MX6Quad chips. The family also addresses LCD screens, so these chips may find their way into low-end tablets and embedded display devices. The i.MX 6DualLite has HDMI, low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), and MIPI display support along with a MIPI camera interface as well. And, this chip tops the Solo with a Gigabit Ethernet port and a PCI Express x1 link.
The i.MX 6DualLite is pin-compatible with other i.MX 6 chips like the 1-GHz i.MX 6Solo, 1.2-GHz i.MX 6Dual, and 1.2-GHz i.MX6Quad. All are software compatible. Software support includes Google Android 4.0, Windows Embedded CE, QNX, Ubuntu, Linux, Linaro, and Skype.
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.