Predictions and convictions that Apple's iPad has already torpedoed the Amazon Kindle e-reader, and all the others, is just plain wrong.
At least that's the view of executives at E Ink, in Cambridge, Mass., the leading maker of "electronic paper displays" for e-book readers, including the Kindle and the Sony Reader.
The Boston Globe's Erin Ailworth picked up this intriguing local angle on yesterday's iPad announcement, talking to E Ink, and others, to get a view of the competitive landscape.
The reason for the E Ink's confidence? The very feature which makes the iPad such a dramatic magnet: the bright color screen, which "lacks the easy-on-the-eyes reflective quality of E Ink screens, and won’t match the long battery life of devices like the black-and-white Kindle," Ailworth writes.
Forrester Research media analyst James McQuivey agrees. “Over time, there will be more credible threats to E Ink, but this isn’t it," he said, quoted in the Globe story. His guestimate is that 6 million e-book readers will be sold in 2010.
Amazon at once began playing up the Kindle's features compared to the iPad: $295 versus $499 for the cheapest iPad, 10 ounces instead of 1.5 pounds, one-third of an inch instead of one-half inch thick, and up to one week of battery life on a single charge versus 10 hours on a good day for the iPad.
And E Ink plans to introduce its own color screen by the end of this year.
Instead of being a Kindle killer, he said, the iPad might simply be “competition that will make everybody sell better.’’ He estimated that 6 million e-book readers will be sold this year.
More evidence that the iPad is underwhelming?
PC World's Dan Ionescu is one of those who thinks the iPad will compete successfully with Kindle, in part because it competes with Kindle's software: run Amazon's Kindle app for the iPhone right on the iPad to access the online Kindle store.
Our enterprise-related coverage of the iPad: