Kindle 3 shortages possible, 10 million+ eReaders in 2010 – eInk maker

The possibility that the Kindle 3 will run into shortages is brought up in a report in the Taipei Times covering eInk maker PVI/eInk. Lots of interesting snippets about eReaders from that and other articles so let’s dive in.

eInk Holdings Inc. on the Kindle 3

Taipei Times brings us lots of Kindle 3 and eReader insights from eInk maker eInk/PVI –

world’s No. 1 e-paper display maker said operating income spiked 76 percent last quarter, thanks to strong demand for e-­readers such as the Kindle

We are very satisfied with the growth of e-reader sales … Amazon’s new Kindle is outfitted with our new-generation Pearl e-paper display and supply could become tight as pre-sales are excellent,” company chairman Scott Liu told investors.

That, to some extent, countered concerns about iPad’s erosion of consumer support for e-readers, said Liu

The other interesting parts –

  1. 65% of eInk’s revenue comes from ePaper displays.  
  2. It says it doesn’t see substantial progress by any of its ePaper rivals.
  3. eInk is ready with colored eInk displays and China’s Hanvon will be the first company to bring those to market.
  4. Sales of eReaders are expected to double to 20 million next year.

Interestingly, eInk also makes flat panels for the iPad (think it is one of two or three suppliers).

Kindle DX shipments tripled with DX 2, over 10 million eReaders this year

DigiTimes has the scoop on the impact of the Kindle DX 2

Shipments for the 9.7-inch Kindle DX tripled when Amazon reduced the prices for the model to US$379 from the previous US$489, Liu noted,

That’s pretty impressive. Didn’t realize that the price-cut and the eInk Pearl screen made such a huge difference.

eInk/PVI also predicts over 10 million eReaders sold in 2010 –

Price-cut competition for e-book readers among global vendors including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Hanvon is expected to stimulate demand in the second half of 2010, with total shipments expected to be 2-3 times those in the first half,

… worldwide e-book reader shipments are expected to exceed the previous forecast of 10 million units in 2010 due to vendors’ price cuts

Mr. Liu also made a few interesting points –

  1. He expects that companies who don’t have content support might be forced out of the market due to low prices on the Kindle 3 and Nook (he mentions B&N so perhaps he knows something we don’t). 
  2. eInk’s Clients have already hit enough sales volume for special discount pricing to kick in.
  3. Soon vendors will be able to provide sub $100 eReaders (He said – judging from the market growth).

It’s remarkable that 7 months into 2010 the eReader companies have already hit enough sales to get bulk discounts on ePaper. With the lower prices of Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi (and perhaps of Nook 2) eInk/PVI’s prediction of over 10 million eReaders being sold in 2010 might come true.  

eInk launches two touch capable eInk screens

DigiTimes reports on two touch screen solutions from eInk (perhaps we see them in Kindle 4 or in Kindle DX 3) –

E Ink has recently launched two EPDs, one of them being a capacitive touch solution and the other an electromagnetic one, Liu said.

The EPDs are currently being validated by clients, and the company expects products featuring the new panels will hit the market by the end of 2010 or at the beginning of 2011, he said.

Wonder where the Sony Reader Touch Edition’s screen fits in – Haven’t we had that for over a year and isn’t that eInk based touch?

DigiTimes also has good coverage of color eInk –

China-based vendor Hanvon has adopted its color EPD and is scheduled to launch e-book readers using the color EPD in the fourth quarter, Liu said.

E Ink’s latest Pearl EPD with color filter (CF) … will have better response time and reflection, Liu explained, 

… E Ink expects color e-book readers to account for 10% of the global e-book reader market in 2011.

Perhaps PVI/eInk thinks color eReaders will only have 10% market share because they will be markedly more expensive or not as good as black and white eInk. If color eInk is simply a color filter over eInk Pearl then the latter seems to be the likelier possibility.

It’s all very remarkable.

Summary – Good Times ahead for Kindle 3 and eReaders

It seems that the Kindle 3 is doing very well and is expected to continue to do well. The main takeaways –

  1. Kindle 3 shortages possible – in my opinion they are quite likely. 
  2. The Kindle WiFi might hit sub $100 prices by end of the year. As might a few other eReaders.
  3. eReaders sporting 2 new touch capable eInk screens might arrive by end 2010 or early 2011.
  4. Hanvon might bring an eInk Pearl based color screen eReader to market in Q4, 2010.
  5. 10 million+ eReader sales in 2010.
  6. 20 million eReaders might be sold in 2011.
  7. eReaders and eInk are both doing just fine.

The sad part is that eInk/PVI seems pretty confident it doesn’t have any viable competitors and it does seem that way. The really good part is that it’s likely the $139 Kindle WiFi will hit the $100 mark by end 2010.

5 thoughts on “Kindle 3 shortages possible, 10 million+ eReaders in 2010 – eInk maker”

  1. I rather hope the Kindle3 WiFi (or another Kindle) hits the $99 price point prior to Christmas. That makes it cheap enough as a gift.

    Heck, at $99, I’ll give one to my grandmother (she’ll lose it). Sales could easily exceed 10 million if there is a $99 unit soon.


  2. For a future posting I would be interested in your views of where the DX is headed. The new model is some strange beast between the old DX and the Knidle 3. New screen, new color but none of the other kindle 3 upgrades? They created a strange animal I think.


  3. I think your first 2 points in your summary are in opposition to each other: they’re not going to reduce to price to $99 while they can’t meet demand at $139

  4. I have to agree with Chris, no point in reducing the price, when at the current price the demand is that big. With that many Kindles (3 & DX2) preordered/sold, things look best for Amazon and good for the rest of the eReaders…

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