Monday, January 28, 2008

BPN 991: Here the Readius comes again

Last week Polymer Vision, the inventor of rollable displays and a spin out from Philips, announced the commercial launch of the Readius device by mid 2008. The exclusive device exploits the versatility of rollable displays to merge the ‘reading friendly’ strengths of e-readers with the ‘high mobility’ features of mobile phones. Together with the Readius internet portal, designed for personalisation and content selection, the company offers a whole new mobile phone category.

The Readius is designed around ease of use and mobility. The device can last for 30 hours of continuous reading without battery charge. The 3G HSDPA tri-band phone allows worldwide calls and high speed instant updates from personally selected news sources, email and other services. Standard POP3 and IMAP is supported for ISP e-mail and others such as Yahoo!Mail, Google Gmail and Microsoft Exchange. The Micro SD High Capacity storage ensures quick and easy access to e-books and valuable information. Readius also features audio capabilities, including MP3, for podcasts, audio books and music.

The Readius internet portal allows users to quickly and simply configure their Readius User Interface as well as select content and services to individual style and needs. With zero clicks, personal data and information is then ‘pushed’ whenever and wherever it is needed.

The portal presents content providers with a commercially attractive channel to offer their content and services to the high growth mobile consumer market. Polymer Vision is in discussion with numerous such providers to populate the portal and make a broad choice of content and services available to Readius owners.

So what is new after last years’ press announcement for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona? Last year the announcement indicated that Telecom Italia would exclusively market the Readius. In one of the press releases even the deadline of one week after the Barcelona Congress was mentioned. Did Telecom Italia pilot the Readius or even market the device officially. The site of Telecom Italia only mentions one press release: Telecom Italia through TIM will co-develop and market in Italy the world’s first rollable display enabled personal device for digital content distribution while Polymer Vision will market the device in the rest of the world. Nowhere on the Telecom Italia site is an indication of a pilot or the availability of the Readius. Now one year later the manufacturer tells the mobile world that the Readius will be available for commercial launch mid 2008. IN the press release there is no mention of the Telecom Italia exclusive launch.

Rushing press releases to the market before finished devices is a bad policy. The following question will pop up: What went wrong between Telecom Italia and Polymer Vision; Was the device not ready yet; Will the device be ready for commercial launch mid 2008 (roughly July till October 2008)? Or is there a technical or production problem. From a person who has seen the Readius, I heard that there is a fault in the design. When you are called, you will have to open the mobile to take the call; there is no screen, receiver and speaker on the outside. This will be experineced by a user as very awkward and looks like a cardinal sin in mobile usability design.

Blog Posting Number: 991


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