Many experts have talked about in the past that whichever company solves the content access riddle will probably win the e-book reader wars. It’s given that Sony was in the game way before Amazon entered the market. But Amazon’s innovative features and the overall Kindle experience has given Amazon a huge momentum in the e-book market. To give Amazon credit, it has kept up the pressure by introducing Kindle DX to reach to more market segments. But other competitors such as Sony and Plastic Logic are finally getting what the game’s about: content and convenience.
I recently wrote about Plastic Logic partnering up with Barnes & Noble to bring a huge library of content to Plastic Logic Reader owners. Sony has been forming its own partnerships, joining forces with Google to bring Google Books project to Sony Reader. Google Books Project gives Sony Readers access to 1 million public domain books which should make Sony Reader an decent alternative to Amazon Kindle. Amazon can always pick up Google Books as well, but at this point it doesn’t have any plans to.
Sony and Plastic Logic have addressed their content access issues a bit in the past few days, but they need to get things right with their devices as well. Amazon Kindle is by far the best designed e-book reader on the market, and the fact that Amazon is already working on color Kindle and more innovative designs should keep these companies worried. Sony Readers are very capable as well, but they are not Amazon Kindle but cost almost as much.
Sony and Plastic Logic seem like decent competitors to Amazon, but Apple seems to be poised to steal their thunder with its tablet, expected to be released in September. Plastic Logic has been in the works for a while but the manufacturer has taken too much time to introduce the device to the market. Sony had the lead in this market but did not build on it. So it’d be hard to see where Sony goes from here. It could all come down to what Apple does with its tablet. It will certainly not be just an e-book reader, and that’s what makes it a dangerous competitor.
Your take: what do you think Sony and Plastic Logic need to do to stop Amazon Kindle’s momentum?