It looks like the Apple iPad will not be a Kindle-killer after all, said some analysts.
Amazon’s Kindle may come out shining here because it retains some key advantages in the media-reader landscape. 3G wireless is free on the Kindle and its books are cheaper–$9.99 compared to Apple’s $12.95. (Apple’s iPad 3G starts at $14.99/mo.) Also the Kindle’s price starts at a relatively low $259 and its E Ink screen permits a battery life that lasts for weeks compared to the iPad’s ten hour battery life.
But Yankee Group analyst Dmitriy Molchanov notes that other pricier e-readers may not fare well against the $499 iPad. “Devices like the QUE from Plastic Logic and the eDGe from enTourage will simply not be able to compete,” he said. The Que will sell for $649 to $799 and the eDGe for $490.
What about Sony? (It’s Daily Edition 3G e-reader is $399). Sony claims the iPad will help promote all e-readers. Interestingly, Steve Haber, president of Sony’s Digital Reading Division added that digital books sales will surpass print sales within five years, if not sooner.
ABI Research believes media tablets such as the iPad will sell a collective 4 million units worldwide this year while e-readers will sell in the range of 7 million units this year worldwide.
ABI analyst Jeff Orr says there’s still room for the less expensive, non-connected readers which may wind up in vertical markets. For instance a legal firm might purchase hundreds for its lawyers.
Another quick point on the iPad’s e-reader function– because the iPad’s screen doesn’t use E Ink, it will require users add some kind of external light in darker conditions and it won’t be viewable in direct sunlight.