Fight to Supply E-Reader Screens Heats Up
For two years, Prime View International Co. has overcome technological hurdles to dominate the burgeoning market for electronic-reader screens. Now this small company faces encroaching competitors and even-newer technologies.
Prime View’s screens are used by the three most-popular brands: Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) Kindle, Barnes & Noble Inc.’s (BKS) Nook and Sony Corp.’s (SNE) Reader. That gives the company a near monopoly of a market where global sales are expected to surge to 12 million units in 2010 from five million this year, according to research firm iSuppli.
With e-reader sales booming, other companies, many of them far bigger than Prime View, want a piece of the action. Rivals in Taiwan, Japan and the U.S. are racing to roll out new technologies and features like color screens—on the top of users’ wish lists, and key to newspapers and magazines making the transition to e-readers.
At the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, at least a half dozen companies will unveil new e-reading devices, including Plastic Logic Ltd., Hearst Corp.’s Skiff, Spring Design Inc. and Entourage Systems Inc.