Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Firm casts new light on reading"


some insight in E-ink business side, from the Boston Herald

"E-Ink, which makes a film that requires little light, is very much responsible for the Sony Reader’s book-like display.

It’s a technology the company said it can extend to newspapers as well. Though E-Ink isn’t responsible for manufacturing products, its film could be used to make highly flexible electronic newspapers, Bischoff said.

“If you read a newspaper in a taxi cab, in a plane, on the beach, wherever you can read a newspaper you can read our devices,” he said.

It’s piqued the interest of some publishers. E-Ink counts Hearst Corp., McClatchy Co. and Vivendi Universal Publishing among its investors.

Kenneth Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive Media, sits on the company’s board of directors.

Still, Bischoff said the company isn’t out to replace newspapers or books.

“The newspaper is not going to go away. The physical book is not going to go away. But there are certain amounts of your day where you say, ‘Hey, this electronic book is very useful,’ ” he said.

The e-newspaper may still be years in the future. What form customers would prefer is also undetermined.

“At the end of the day, it’s a social issue rather than a technological one,” Bischoff said.

E-Ink isn’t out to save the newspaper industry. It’s out to sell its film, whether the purchaser is interested in digital books, signs or even watches.

“As a business model, we’re not out to sell electronic newspapers to the public,” Bischoff said. “We want to be good at making electronic paper.”

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