Monday, July 20, 2009

What Gartner doesn't get about epaper. It's made for reading. Reading is a niche, but growing market.

I found a report of a Gartner report on epaper in my in box. A snippet follows.
Gartner reports on threats and opportunities offered by e-paper
"Low power consumption, legibility, similarity to paper and environmental advantages were highlighted as driving the adoption of e-paper. However, the lack of content for e-readers, lack of support for colour, the difficulty displaying moving images and the falling cost and increasing quality of rival display technologies such as OLED and LCD displays and the high cost of e-readers were barriers that need to be overcome for the technology to succeed."
Epaper is the perfect display technology for reading. If you've tried a Kindle you know what I mean. Bezos has it just right. But it's hard for me to see how epaper is going to every find a market against smart phones for everything else. Unless someone invents a couple of order of magnitude decrease in the cost for video.

The opportunity for e paper is to increase the number of people who read,. This is still a small niche market with lots of room for growth. Add epaper readers to clickable print teaching supplementals and education has a great new tool kit to create more people who read.

The more people who read, the bigger the market for e paper.


  1. The Gartner report is shortsighted. There will be flexible color video able e-paper in under 5 years. There is a color epaper reader on Sale in Japan. This is just the very begining, not the end of the new technology.

  2. Bo,
    Thanks for visiting.

    My take is in 5 years smart phones is going to be ubiquitous. And once the Japanese figure out how to move out of their home market it's going to really explode.

    So, if the epaper develops as you suggest, which makes sense to me, it might mean that epaper will replace the screens on smart phones.

    But from now until 5 years from now the low hanging fruit for e paper are people who actually read. The confusion about "readers' being a mass market is the noise that makes this hard for people to see.

    That's why I think Hearst going into the ereader business or newspapers on ereaders for the mass market doesn't make sense.

    The NYTimes has about 10,000 paying subscribers on the Kindle. My bet is that maybe there are a total of 100,000 people who "read" the Times. Everyone else scans the headlines to make sure nothing terrible happened that will affect them today. That's for the web.

    Then the news-on-paper is mostly for "people like us, who buy the Times."

  3. Just one more.
    The other low hanging fruit is for retail signage.