This has been a breakout year for e-readers and e-books–device sales will have more than tripled by the end of this year, and content sales are up 176% for the year. But next year will be anything but boring. Here are Forrester’s predictions for 2010:
1. E Ink will lose its claim to near-100% market share for e-reader displays. Next year will see the first devices that are marketed as “e-readers” but that don’t exclusively use E Ink displays. Competition will come in three forms: 1) cheaper substitutions for E Ink that use the same electrophoretic display technology; 2) dual-screen devices that have both an E Ink and an LCD screen; and 3) devices that use an entirely different display technology, such as transflective LCD or OLED.
2. Dual-screen mobile phones and netbooks will eat into e-reader demand. Most consumers don’t read enough to justify buying a single-function reading device, and according to Forrester’s data, more consumers already read e-books on mobile phones and PCs than on e-readers. Consumer electronics manufacturers will tap into the growing digital reading trend by launching new versions of their devices with reading-optimized screens. Mobile phones like the Samsung Alias 2 already have secondary E Ink screens, which could be repurposed for reading rather than typing or time-telling. Netbooks will also launch with dual E Ink/LCD screens, like the Asus EEE PC prototype that debuted at CeBIT in 2009. Since some e-readers will launch with dual-screens, too, like the E Ink/LCD Entourage Edge, the main difference between these devices and dual-screen netbooks will be software and marketing.
3. Apps will make non-reading devices more e-book-friendly. E-readers like the Kindle have catalyzed demand for digital reading: e-books have been around for more than a decade, but no one bought them before Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) made it convenient to buy and consume them. But the market for e-books is not limited to e-readers. This year gave us oodles of apps for the iPhone (Gizmodo called e-books the new fart apps), the B&N app for smartphones and PCs, and the beginning of apps for portable gaming devices like the Sony (NYSE: SNE) PSP and Nintendo DS. Next year will see more e-book apps on more devices. These apps will make it easier to view reading content on non-reading-optimized devices, which will provide a
This article originally appeared in Forrester Research.