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June 02, 2009

Competition for Amazon Kindle, Pixel Qi's E-reader Netbook

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor

Although Amazon has been trying to change the publishing world by introducing its 1/3 of an inch, 10.3 ounce Kindle, there have been some complaints that it's not all that it’s cracked up to be.
 
On Amazon’s Kindle page, there is no doubt that overall the Kindle is well liked, but not by much. One-star reviews read that the screen fades in sunlight or the battery life is horrible and Amazon hopes to resolve these troublesome statements when it introduces the Kindle DX on June 10.



 
However, the $489 price tag (News - Alert) of the Kindle DX could be money better spent on a netbook with an e-reader screen in addition to regular netbook functions. Asustek's Eee PC 1000HE and Acer's (News - Alert) Aspire One AOD150-1165, are similarly priced.
 
Start-up Pixel Qi (News - Alert) is bringing the competition with their 3qi, which might give Amazon reason to be scared.

 
The company, founded by former One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) CTO Mary Lou Jepsen, will demonstrate engineering samples of its first screen product at Computex Taipei 2009 this week, according to PC World.
 
According to Jepsen, the screens should be in netbooks and on store shelves by the end of this year.
 
New notebooks designed to include e-reader functions will likely have displays that can swivel around to cover the keyboard and a tablet mode good for an e-book reader, said John Ryan, chief operating officer at Pixel Qi.
 
Complaints of a glaring or fading screen from Kindle users can be comforted by Pixel Qi’s modifications.

 
"What you're looking at is a screen that's entirely reflective," said Ryan, at Pixel Qi's temporary office in Taipei. "It's just running like e-paper so that it's running on the ambient light. It's not fighting the office light, it's not fighting the sunlight. That makes it better for reading but it also cuts the power consumption. The backlight in the screen is typically the largest power drain in any notebook computer."
 
However, even though Pixel Qi’s netbook offers more, making people believe that they actually need such a gadget is hard during these hard economic times. More importantly, persuading companies to invest in their product has been the hardest as reports from all over the world have been coming out diminishing financial moral.
 
"People read the news everyday and this has been pretty bad, and convincing people to take risks during that time was darn hard," said Jepsen. "Venture capital dried up so of course we were trying to get funding during all of that, but we did it."


Jessica Kostek is a channel editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Jessica’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek







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