January 8, 2012

BeBook e-reader company bankrupt

Filed under: Technology by Branko Collin @ 10:31 am

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.

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(Photo: inUse Consulting / Pelle Sten, some rights reserved)

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June 13, 2010

E-book pioneer iRex files for bankruptcy

Filed under: Literature,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:31 pm

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.

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July 22, 2009

Foldable e-reader Readius provides last headlines

Filed under: Gadgets,Online by Branko Collin @ 4:34 pm

“Readius is dead” (CNet), “… goes under” (Washington Post), “… closes its doors” (Geek.com), “… files for bankruptcy” (IT Pro Portal)—news sites are struggling not have to use the headline PC World did: “Flexible eBook reader company folds.”

Polymer Vision, the Dutch display company that came up with the foldable electronic reading device Readius, has, as you may have inferred by now, filed for bankruptcy. CNet quotes CEO Karl McGoldrick as saying that the product itself may survive: “We are working hard to find new investors to take over and re-start and get our technology and product into the market, where it should be.”

There is some speculation among tech sites whether the arrival of the Amazon Kindle may have led to Polymer Vision’s demise, but that seems unlikely to me. The Kindle is only sold in the USA, and there is plenty of room for e-readers in the rest of the world. A more probable assumption is that the Eindhoven-based company has serious competition from recent, large screen mobile phones. Early press photos of the Readius suggested that the device was to be used by business people on the move for reading up on stock reports and news.

(Photo: Polymer Vision.)

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