It’s possible that this goes without saying, but the huge jump in sales of the Kindle has resulted in some major benefits for their screen producer, E Ink Holdings. E Ink, for those who are unfamiliar, is the company that currently drives the eReader market with its durable, low-power, highly readable displays, and is used on both Amazon’s offering as well as the original Barnes & Noble Nook.
Projections regarding E Ink Holdings are indicating that the company is likely to post better than expected profits for the fourth quarter of 2010, in spite of the fact that earlier estimates already placed them at a 60% improvement over the previous quarter. Overall, it’s been a good year for them, it seems.
Even better, for E Ink and for fans of eReaders in general, 2011 is looking like it will be anything but a plateau for the industry. Analysts are anticipating as many as 22 million sales this year, up from slightly fewer than 11 million in 2010. It only makes sense. Sales are up, prices are down, selections are only getting better, and people are starting to finally get over the idea that Tablet PCs will negatively affect the eReader market. E Ink themselves claim that one in ten consumers already have an eReading device, which is definitely a persuasive factor for many potential customers. A large user group, few of whom have complaints, means a reliable product, after all.
Moving forward with existing screen technology isn’t all that e Ink has going for them, either. Recently, especially since the introduction of the Nook Color, people are thinking that color displays on eReaders are just ever so slightly over the horizon. I’d tend to agree, personally. The offering along those lines from E Ink is their Triton display: a color active matrix display that uses the proven tech we know and love, adapted to show us thousands of entertaining color combinations.
This, assuming it takes off in the face of competition from other widely anticipated display products such as Mirasol’s product, will allow eReaders using the new display to take on things like textbooks, cook books, books for kids, and any number of other types of books traditionally relying on colorful illustration. Is anybody else looking forward to digital copies of Where’s Waldo? I know I am!
For now, the Kindle is doing amazingly with the E Ink Pearl screen technology and manages to stay consistently on top of the market. The screen clarity and contrast is unmatched, so far as I’ve experienced, and it lends itself to battery life that is almost too good to be believed compared to anything we’ve seen previously. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a non-backlit option for reading which most (though yes, I know not all) people who give it a chance tend to appreciate. It’ll be fun to watch where things go from here, but it’s hard to deny that they earned the success they’ve gotten so far, or that things are looking up for the very near future.