iRex is currently facing financial problems. I’m the owner of an iRex Digital Reader (DR1000) and I really hope iRex is going to survive those difficulties.
The DR1000S isn’t as flashy as the iPad of course, but it is an excellent (but not perfect) reading device. You can’t completely compare ePaper with flat screen technology, it wouldn’t be fair.
Irex claims they missed a sales window in the US, nevertheless I believe iRex has some deeper issues to look at. If they continue I believe the following topics should be addressed:
- Pricing. ePaper is quiet expensive on the iRex. Facing the iPad at around 500€, iRex can’t keep its prices so high. The cost structure of their eReaders needs to be carefully analyzed because some costs have to be cut down. It’s a matter of survival on the market. It could mean for iRex to diversify the product portfolio to find some volume cash cows, why not with a good tablet….
- Solution Thinking : Rather than just selling a just product, iRex should rather push complete solutions where the eReader is a piece of the value chain. Business Solutions need to be further developed. Those Business Solutions should be independant of the eReader and allow to push eReading on other devices like the iPad.
- End User support : If you walk around the iRex Forum, you’ll read many people have questions and remarks. They are not always addressed in a good way. Customers have paid a high price for their eReaders and they feel abandoned.
- Firmware : iRex has to face it, their Linux based firmware is rich in functionality but is too slow. One would need to take the risk to start it again from scratch or in collaboration with some other vendor (HP Palm OS, Android…). My usage of Xournal or FBReader on my iRex shows me some applications can behave reasonably fast. The challenge is to separate the processing of information from the display. It’s not easy but it needs to be tackled.
I wish iRex the best and I hope they can face those difficult times.