According to reports of an investor conference which appeared in the Taipei Times, e-paper specialist producer E Ink Holdings Inc. has announced lower sales and financial losses over the current and ensuing quarters, off the back of falling demand for its screens, found inside the Kindle and other e-readers. E Ink CFO Eddie Chen forecast revenue down some 5-10 percent from the $192.4 million recorded in the last quarter of 2013.
Admittedly, this could be a freak seasonal result. The last quarter of 2013 brought profits nearly double the usual quarterly level, according to the Taipei Times report, although much of this did come from royalties income rather than the company’s own production. Last year also brought the firm a full-year profit after a loss in 2012.
All the same, local anaylsts ascribed the lowered expectations to falling demand for dedicated e-readers in favor of tablet devices, including Kindle Fires. They also endorsed Chen’s announced plan to broaden its product portfolio away from pure e-readers to embrace screens for mobile phones and other implementations.
Where this leaves Kindle demand is also open to speculation. Some reports have pointed to signs that the e-reader market has already peaked in the U.S. However, there still may be many other new form factors and new markets waiting, and the overall growth of the ebook market – if you believe the best analyses of the numbers rather than traditional publishers’ self-serving comments – shows few signs of slackening.