The Cool-er eBook reader was an interesting concept on its launch back at the end of 2009. It was light, (fairly) inexpensive, had decent page turn speed and, most importantly, stood out from the crowd as fun and funky. However, in June 2010 it had all gone wrong and parent company, Interead, went into liquidation.
It seemed that, that would be that. Bye bye Cool-er.
Or so we thought.
Pocket-lint bumped into Phil Wood, marketing director of Cool-er, at the recent IFA show in Berlin, where he exclusively explained the reasons behind the company's downfall, and the partnership it has signed with fellow eBook specialist Elonex:
"The two reasons why we, sort of, went a bit quiet are, 1) the UK banking system's problems, which interfered with the cash flow; and, 2) there was a large US retailer that reneged on the second large order," he told us.
"What we lacked, as a British start-up, was the financial stability that Elonex has. The tie-in with their pedigree is one that’s a perfect match for Cool-er. It’s a natural fit to team up and to bring forward [our] marketing and the branding expertise, because what Elonex is missing is the brand recognition".
The deal will see five new eBook readers, that will be branded as Elonex Cool-er e-readers. They will retain the Cool-er multi-coloured styling, but combine the two company's firmware:
"As time goes on, the partnership will be marrying the firmware together," Wood said. "There’s obviously good parts to take from both, and we’ll be bringing some consistency to the range".
He continued: "The ethos of Cool-er was always that it’s an eBook reader for readers, designed by readers. And that’s where the Elonex firmware can be improved even further. It’s very solid, but we’re bringing it to a range, if you’re an occasional reader, that includes a 99 Euro colour screen".
That colour screen will be much like the touchscreen one used on the Elonex eBook readers launched at IFA [pictured above].
However, Phil dropped an even more promising nugget; the range will also contain a full colour e-ink proposition:
"If you’re dedicated reader, you want e-ink. And, obviously, in the new year, colour e-ink is coming along".
"We’re in talks with the same [suppliers] as the rest of the industry are. There’s no surprises there. It’s still on for samples in December, which means that consumers will see that sometime at the end of Q1". Which complies with the time scale hinted by Mirasol itself.
Phil's certainly hoping this deal will bring the Cool-er brand back into the public conciousness, after all, he believes that, since its slump, the marketplace has become more boring:
"It was all a bit of fun. To me it was like lifestyle marketing. Predominently, it’s females that read more, so we wanted to get a light, colourful e-reader out there that wasn’t staid and corporate-like. Who wants beige, and a keypad on the front?"
"Obviously, there’s the price point, too. We forced the price of the Kindle down originally. Literally, the week after [we launched, Amazon] dropped the price down from $249".
So how can they hope to change things?
"Everyone knows the Cool-er brand".
Do you think Cool-er could make an impact on a market dominated by Sony and Amazon? Let us know in the comments below...