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Another ereader for India – the LeAF range of ereaders

Vestal Enterprises goes mad!  Full frontal attack on Indian ereader market by Singaporean company – Perhaps………

Vestal announced the other day that they will be selling ereaders in the Indian market, and not simply one model, but 6!   With these 6 models they are attempting to capture the entire market, as between them they represent examples of all the basic forms of ereader.

I can’t be bothered to wade through my mountain of images of different ereaders to identify the origins of each of these ereaders, but they all seem to be rebrands in fact, but none the worse for that.

The Indian ereader market it is in its infancy just now, they are too expensive for most people still, and not yet very well supported with ebooks in the various languages that are spoken in India, but this is changing, and quite rapidly as well.  And for sure, the introduction of this collection of ereaders, which collectively more than doubles the range of choice that Indians have with ereaders that support their various languages will have a strong influence on this development I am sure.

So, to cases, what are they offering the good people of the Sub-Continent?

Well, I can do no better than to quote from their Press Release on the subject:

LeAF ushers a new era in reading with a range of state-of-the-art e-ink and TFT e-readers. Under the eReader category, Vestal offers various products – LeAF Basic, LeAF Mega, LeAF Galore, LeAF Touch, LeAF Touch pro, LeAF Access and LeAF Android tablets. These eReaders come with various features designed to suit everyone’s needs and budgets. The LeAF are available in two sizes 6″or 9″, with E-Ink, Color or grey models, with or without touch screen, QWERTY Keyboard, 3G and WIFI technology. The device supports 18 Indian languages with customized language menu providing a truly Indian experience to the readers. The price range of LeAF eReaders starts from Rs 8,999.

See what I mean?  Pretty comprehensive, no?

They go on to say:

Our customized application development centre in Chennai develops various applications not just for hobby readers, but to cater to the specific requirements for various segments like educational institutions, professionals, corporate and publishing industry. We are working towards customizing our LeAF devices for catering to even physically challenged and differently abled people. We are looking forward to acquire a market share of 20% in B2B & 10% in B2C in the E-Reader segment by end of 2011.”He added.
India is world’s largest and most stable education segment, with increasing e-content and e-learning methodologies Vestal’s LeAF eDiaries and eReaders would be highly suitable for strengthening the Indian education system.

In other words, they are indulging in a bit of broad front Blitzkrieg, a full throated attack on the existing market.    It should be fun to watch, since the whole idea of ereaders is still very new in India, the market is therefore wide open, so it isn’t simply Kindles that you will see being used on buses, in cafes and all over the place, but a wide range of “made for India” ereaders.

This will certainly encourage local authors and publishers to leap onto the bandwagon, and start to seriously produce ebooks specifically for these ereaders…. A very good thing!

Word of caution though:

I have looked at various companies who have announced the “imminent” launch of a large range of ereaders before, only to watch sadly as the whole idea fizzles quietly out over the subsequent months.   A lot of these announcements are more in the nature of testing the market, rather than a serious commitment to actually producing the goods….   So don’t hold your breath, but wait calmly to see if anything actually comes of all of this fine verbiage….   And carefully register the fact that they are not actually producing any ereaders, but simply rebranding, and writing firmware to make them do what they want… if the interest is actually there.

So, here they all are, one below the other……

LeAF Mega:

The big one… this will have a seriously large screen, (if it ever gets on the market – the history of large screen ereaders is full of corpses, sadly.  Anyhow, here are its specs….  Seems to be pretty universal in application, and for those who want a large screen, probably a very good buy.

Price: Not yet announced.


LeAF touch Pro:

A normal sized ereader, this time with an e-Ink touch screen (Vizplex).  Now were have I seen that case before?    Hmmmmmm…….

Yet another Chinese one, methinks….  But, the Chinese make perfectly good ereaders, so nothing wrong with that.


LeAF Touch:

The main difference between this one and the Pro model above seems to be that the Pro has a Vizplex screen, and this one doesn’t….

Otherwise a pretty normal ereader.


Moving on, we now come to the LeAF Access:

We now leave the realm of touch screens and wander into the realm of buttons and real QWERTY keyboards, again, perfectly reasonable….

I think I should consider giving some sort of small prize to anyone who can be bothered to identify all these ereaders………  Well, since I am getting no money from Vestal Enterprises,  I shall restrict it to an honorable mention here……   Interested?

Anyhow, yet another normal ereader, obviously a Chinese one.


Next on the menu…. The LeAF Basic:

Well, the name says it all really, that is what it is, a very basic ereader… nothing more to be said about it…..


And finally, the LeAF Android:

This is the colour one, basically a smallish tablet, that runs under Android, so you can use this one for all those Apps you have been dying to use….


So, there you have it:

If this range of ereaders ever actually hits he Indian market, it will obviously have a profound effect, but given the lack of information on the company website about release dates, exact pricing, and the number of times  “under development” appears in the specifications, I rather think this is yet another “doomed to die before even being born” attempts to grab a share of the ereader market.

I report on it, since you never know, it might all happen………..

Link: http://www.leaf-reader.com/main.php?page=lreaders


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