Fairfax Media, has rebuffed Amazon's portable e-reader as the way to deliver digitised versions of newspapers to readers on the run. News Corporation has said that it, too, is looking beyond Amazon at other devices.
The decision by Fairfax effectively paves the way for a two-way contest between Sony and possibly Apple as the dominant reader for the digital generation.
As reported in MediaPost last week Sony has taken the wraps off its newest e-reader, and observers say it will emerge as one of the year's hottest products -- and challenge Amazon's dominance in the fast-growing market.
"One of the advantages Sony has is that this product has a touchscreen, and Amazon's Kindle doesn't. And as is typical of Sony products, it has a high-quality, well-designed look," says an analyst with Forrester, a US based research group. "The Kindle looks like an oversized calculator, while this is a sleek device."
Apple has yet to announce any details about its reader but the technology industry rumour mill has gone into meltdown in recent weeks with speculation that the company is to release a 10-inch reader early next year.
The newspaper industry believes Apple's entry will determine the future shape of the market, given its record in moving into portable music players, internet-enabled phones and allowing consumers to buy music via its iTunes site.
Fairfax's director of marketing and newspaper sales, Robert Whitehead, told The Age: ''We're continuously examining all options for extending the reach of our mastheads and we'll be very interested to see what Apple comes up with.''
Apple was not disclosing any information relating to plans for a reader. ''That would be purely a rumour and speculation,'' said a spokeswoman.
''I'm not sure how Amazon will go with Kindle in Australia but we are unlikely to proceed with it,'' Mr Whitehead said. ''Their business model represents a very unattractive partnership deal for newspaper publishers.''
It is unclear if Amazon will proceed with a launch here in Australia.
News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch recently signalled he would be unlikely to proceed with the Amazon device.
Earlier this year, Forrester forecast that more than 3 million eReaders would be sold this year in the US; it now projects that may be higher -- and that as many as 13 million will be sold by 2013.
Get set for this revolution.
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