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Unsolved Mysteries of the Kyobo eReader (Not Really)

Kyobo customers queue to purchase the Kyobo eReader, November 22, 2011

A few weeks ago, we proudly announced the world’s first color e-reader to feature mirasol® display technology – the KYOBO eReader.  We believe this announcement is the first step in changing consumer’s expectations about what an e-reader is; delivering color and interactive content, while maintaining the outdoor visibility and weeks of battery life to which they’ve become accustomed.

Since the announcement, there has been some dialogue online and I’ve had a few questions about the device, the display and its capabilities.  Let me take a moment to answer some of these questions.

Battery Life:

The Kyobo eReader delivers up to three weeks of battery life, preserving an important attribute that identifies the e-reader category.  Kyobo built this device to function as an e-reader and accordingly, applied the industry standard e-reader usage model (of course, those other e-readers feature black and white displays) of 30 min of use each day, WiFi Off, standby power the rest of the time – and in our case, 25% front light brightness – we’ll get to that next. These are Kyobo’s reported numbers.

Reading Light:

Our mirasol® displays work by reflecting ambient light (see how it works), and for darker environments, an integrated reading light is used (we’ve blogged on this before), and in the case of the Kyobo eReader, is controlled by an ambient light sensor.  Above, we discuss how there is an assumed 25% brightness in all usage.  Try not to think about this as an LCD, where “brightness” equates to the amount of light coming out of the display.  Instead, this is the additional light the reading light adds to supplement the existing reflected light.  My point is that the display offers visibility in both bright and dark conditions while preserving the battery life consumers expect of an e-reader.

Commercialization, Product Availability and the Korean Market:  

First, as to when the product is available, it’s available now and has been on sale in Kyobo’s flagship store in Seoul since it was announced.  We have made good on our promise to commercialize mirasol displays in 2011.

I want to also take a moment to talk about why Kyobo is our first customer out the door.  Kyobo’s product development focused on finding a tool to enable digital education and meet the Korean consumer’s expectations for an e-reader, something black and white e-readers have not done in Kyobo’s past experience.  This focus and execution on mirasol display’s precise value proposition is why Kyobo is right customer and Korea the right market to enter first .  Additionally, it’s worth noting that while our current fabrication facility is capable of supporting customers of modest volume requirements, we expect higher volume customers to come into focus once our next, higher volume facility comes online later in 2012.  So in the short term, we will  keep  focused on mostly international markets.

Thanks and please let me know if you have any additional questions.

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