Another Dutch e-manufacturer of e-book readers has kicked the bucket.
Endless Ideas, the company behind the BeBook, was granted bankruptcy last week, Bright reports. According to the tech mag, the Utrecht based company was still working on an e-reader with coloured e-paper, but the technology took longer to develop than hoped.
Endless Ideas was not the first Dutch maker of e-readers, nor even the first to file for bankruptcy. Eightteen months ago we reported the demise of Irex from Eindhoven.
(Photo: inUse Consulting / Pelle Sten, some rights reserved)
Tags: BeBook, e-books, e-paper, e-readers, Eindhoven, Irex, Utrecht
In 2006 I borrowed Orangemaster’s camera, hopped on the train to Eindhoven, and visited a start-up at Philips’ famous High Tech Campus to look at its single, yet to be released product, the Iliad e-reader. Today I learnt through newspaper FD that the former start-up Irex has filed for and received bankruptcy (Dutch).
The Iliad was an E Ink based tablet computer suited mainly for reading, hence the name. At the time, only Sony had a comparable device, the Librié.
Irex’s goal was to replace paper, not necessarily to compete with similar e-readers for consumers. To that effect, its reader had a larger screen and it could also be written to using a stylus. The company left selling books to third parties, expecting content providers to bundle the Iliad with their products. The intended customers for the device weren’t novel readers, but students, lawyers and others used to toting around kilos of text books and note pads each day.
Later, Irex also turned to the consumer market, where it had to compete with the Kindle, the Apple Ipad and the newer Sony devices, and even the Bebook, another Dutch brand of e-reader. Apparently, trying to introduce its latest consumer device in the USA is what broke the camel’s back. Disappointing sales due to a late FCC approval (only after the Christmas season) meant that Irex’s cash flow dried up,
The good news is that besides its cash flow problem, Irex is apparently in good health, and has a lot of intellectual capital. The type of bankruptcy that they have filed for and received last Tuesday, called surseance van betaling, does not mean the end of the company but merely a temporary stop of its obligation to pay bills. Irex owes more than 5 million euro, mostly to Deutsche Bank. FD reports in a follow-up article that lots of other companies are interested in buying the outfit.
Tags: e-books, e-readers, Eindhoven, Irex, Philips
It seems Endless Ideas, Dutch manufacturer of the E Ink based BeBook electronic book readers, has announced a sub-200 euro e-book reader. “Who will break the 200 euro barrier?” the company mused philosophically on Twitter last week. Bright believes (Dutch) that Endless Ideas may have been thinking about itself.
Another Tweet revealed a picture–shown here—of the old along side the new, which suggests the diagonal for the new device may be 5 inch. That’s approximately four times the size of the Palm Pilot I use for reading e-books, which may still be small enough to be carried around in a coat pocket or so.
Two Dutch companies have recently introduced new E Ink based e-book readers. Irex, the Philips spin-off from Eindhoven, already has a remarkable device in its Iliad. Bigger and better than any other e-reader on the market, it is also twice as expensive. For the 650 euro that the Iliad costs you get an A5 screen, 16 greyscales, and Wifi though, making it an ideal device for students and businesses. For comparison: all other e-book readers have a screen half that size (A6), which makes reading A4 illustrated PDFs rather cumbersome.
But Irex must have felt that it was scaring people away at the bottom end of its market, and has now introduced the Iliad Book Edition at the considerably lower price of 500 euro. For that you get an Iliad without the Wifi and without a fancy protection cover.
A complete new player on the market is the BeBook from Endless Ideas in Utrecht, which looks pretty much like the offerings of Sony and Cybook. The BeBook costs 330 euros.
Another Philips spin-off, Polymer Vision, hopes to launch its foldable e-book reader Readius later this year.
E-book readers are devices that display electronic text files, and E Ink is a reflective screen technology that looks like paper.
Photo: lots of goodies come from the Eindhoven High Tech Campus. Source: Frank Lemmen, some rights reserved.
Tags: e-books, Eindhoven, Utrecht