Thursday, 11 September 2008

One of the much hyped Cambridge University start ups may actually succeed!

I saw this on today...

It details the efforts of one of the much talked about Cambridge University start ups this year, Plastic Logic, to get their e-reader to market. While I'm impressed that one of the companies that Tim Minshall mentioned about 10,000 times this year is actually moving forward, I have two questions about it:

1) Do you think that e-readers will succeed in their current dominant design form in the next 5 years in becoming a mass market product, given their lack of success in the last 10 years? Or will they end up in another form not yet envisioned, such as being subsumed into mobile phones, much as PDAs have been? What if Apple were to take their Macbook Air and slap the screen on the front to form a combined reader/laptop?

2) What will it take to give one of these devices mass market appeal? Will it require a device that looks and feels almost exactly like printed paper? Is cost the driving issue? Compatability? Unfamiliarity? Some combination of these?