Checking back in on Michael Kozlowski’s IndieGoGo campaign for a 13.3” Android e-ink reader, which we’ve made note of a few times here, we see that it’s currently raised nearly $106,000—about 2 1/2 times its initial goal of $42,000. 131 people so far have chipped in for the $699 e-reader or the $729 package including the e-reader and accessories, and it still has 12 days left to run.

This is especially impressive given how badly Kozlowski’s earlier Kickstarter project, for a smaller Android e-ink reader, fizzled. You wouldn’t think that, if no one wanted a cheap reader, a super-expensive one would sell like hotcakes—especially given the somewhat risky nature of backing any expensive crowdfunded hardware project—but apparently this was an area of the market that is being badly underserved, and Kozlowski was lucky enough to see it.

Granted, 131 people isn’t exactly hotcakes as far as the larger market is concerned, which could number into the thousands or tens of thousands of units at least, but it’s a good sign given that riskiness I mentioned.

And other companies are banking on it, too. A couple of days ago, Nate Hoffelder reported on The Digital Reader that the Onyx Book Max, one of the only other competitors in the 13.3” e-ink document viewer space, has become available for pre-order on the US, UK, and Canada Amazon stores. It’s due to release on May 20, and pre-orders ship direct from China. The price is US$650, £460.00, or CDN$835, respectively. Meanwhile, a German e-reader store is selling it for €696.15  to Europeans (including VAT), or €585 shipped to people outside the EU, but reports a 4-week manufacturer delay.

I don’t know exactly how the Onyx differs from the Good e-Reader model—they have the same screen, both run Android 4, and seem overall comparable in general. It might be that people who want to avoid the risk associated with crowdfunding would be just as happy paying a little less for an Onyx, which is more of a sure thing and will arrive sooner.

That said, I wonder whether other hardware manufacturers will take a cue from these obscure readers and come out with their own 13” models? Given that Amazon discontinued the Kindle DX some time ago, it doesn’t seem that it sees any percentage in over-sized readers—but people who want them certainly do want them.


  1. >> Kozlowski was lucky enough to see it.
    Credit where credit’s due: Smart enough to see it and brave enough to chance his arm.

    The goodereader lacks Bluetooth I think, whereas the Onyx has BT. This is huge as many people want to use the ereader as a screen to type with, which requires BT (via USB is a no-go).

  2. When it comes to hardware, in recent years the high-tech industry seems to be ‘doing a Detroit’ and thinking that style can substitute for genuine innovation.

    From the 1950s into the 1970s, the U.S. auto industry made few geninue improvements in cars and instead focused on styles intended to age quickly. Think huge, unreliable gas-guzzlers with tacky tail fins. That’s why they got eaten alive by Asian automakers in the 1970s and 1980s.

    You see something similar at Apple, although it feigns high art rather than low style. Customers are supposed to get excited that an iPhone or MacBook Air is slightly thinner or marginally lighter. That’s nonsense. Does it really matter that me plus a MBA weighs 170.5 pounds rather than 170 pounds? No, not all all. Apple used to be the first to add new features to their products to justify their high price. Now is strips features out in a silly “less is more” artistic mantra. No, Sir Ives, less is less. All that’s going up are Apple’s profits.

    Amazon is just as bad. I’m sticking to my Kindle 3 because no new Kindle in the six years or so since it came out makes the expense worthwhile. Look at the specs for the Oasis and you’ll find they’re almost identical to those of the Paperwhite. Still no Bluetooth, for instance. What’s the point of letting book readers take notes, if they have to enter them using a painfully clumsy touch screen keyboard? No, the Oasis is all about style, with its leather case and all.

    Unfortunately, as the big high-tech companies have grown larger, they’ve made it harder for innovative startups to gain a foothold. In fact, it’s easy to suspect that some startups exist only has bait to lure one of the giants to buy them out and enrich their founders.

    E-ink readers are yet another illustration of that. The market is glutted with products that fit, just barely, into a coat pocket to fit the most popular size. Even making a screen a few inches larger or smaller is too much innovation and too much risk.

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