Sunday, November 25, 2007

Why the Kindle will die ...

I was a little surprised by the latest 'news' on the gizmo arena - the 'ebook-readers' - until I have realized that one of the 'reporters' manufacturing this story is David Pogue - at that point it was just clear we were speaking about paid advertising and no journalism.

But Sony first and now Amazon are failing to understand a number of simple points:

- the price is essential - for 400-500 US$ today you can get a decent Windows notebook with a COLOR screen 4 times bigger; at the same price point you can get the new Asus EEE which is A LOT cooler (and somehow open-source); or you can get TWO of the amazing OLPC notebooks (but in the current Xmas promotion you will have to donate one to less fortunate kids);

- another reason why the pricing is dead-wrong is the 'DRM-connection' - if you want to convince people to pay for LOCKED ebooks (that cost about 0.0001 cents to make) about the same price as for paper books at least you should give the reader away for free! and if you really try to SELL it as a stand-alone product then most likely 99.99 is the right pricing point for something like that!!!

- the only way to sell such an overpriced gizmo with even more overpriced DRM content would be to place the Apple logo on it and start the media machine (with the last part actually Amazon trying to do by getting Pogue - but unfortunately the famous SteveJ reality distortion field is just missing :) )

- as long as the special paper-like (passive) screen is still expensive the ABSOLUTE best way to start selling it (and bring it into mass production, which will bring prices down A LOT) would be to add it as an option to new high-end models of subnotebooks / convertible / tabletPCs on the face of the lid opposed to the 'normal' (active) screen - by default it can be programmed to show the manufacturer logo (and this way Dell will also avoid the infamous "circle of light" generated by their stupid protruding logo) but it should also be possible to use it to display whatever else, including to read books for months !!!

Update - here is a link with extra talk on the matter - however some of the (otherwise) good observation from there should be clearly started with a "on the medium term" - since on the (very) short term some other approaches might work a lot better (like my own suggestion above), and in the (very) long term there are really zero chances to keep your customers captive so you should avoid investing in such a company ...

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