October 8, 2009

E-Reader Market Continues Growth

As the e-reader marker continues to see massive growth, all eyes are on Apple.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has not been one of several tech firms to release its own tablet device thus far, but rumors surrounding the firm seem to point to the possible development of its own tablet PC that would stand a good chance of rivaling Amazon, the current e-reader market leader.

In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs had returned to the company just months after undergoing liver transplant surgery.

The Journal quoted "people familiar with the situation" who said that Jobs was focusing on the development of a new touch screen tablet device.

"Mr. Jobs' involvement is a sign of how important the new gadget is for Apple. In the months before Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 -- now its fastest-growing product -- the CEO was also on top of every detail, such as the curvature of the phone's back," said the Journal, citing inside sources.

The company has made no public mention of the existence of an "iPad," but if it does exist, outsiders hope it would be presented as an oversized version of the Apple's popular iPhone.

"Everything I heard was that Steve Jobs wanted it in market this quarter," said Rob Enderle of Silicon Valley's Enderle Group. "They just weren't able to get it done. I do expect were going to see it in the first half of next year."

AFP cited data from Forrester Research, Inc., that estimated that three million e-readers would be sold in the United States this year, with 900,000 units expected to be sold during the holiday season alone.

"We've been saying for some time now that this Christmas is going to be 'e-reader Christmas,'" Neil Jones, founder and chief executive of Interead, maker of the COOL-ER e-reader, told AFP.

"Our biggest challenge as an industry is making sure we have stock available for people who want to buy an e-reader."

Interead is entering into the e-reader market that is increasingly being filled by rival companies including Plastic Logic, IREX Technologies, Sony and bookseller Barnes and Noble.

Forrester estimates that Amazon's Kindle currently holds a dominating 60 percent share of the e-reader market, followed by Sony's Reader with 35 percent.


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