We know a few things about e-reading…
From e-paper devices design and reading apps development to ebooks protection and distribution,
we have developed since 2007 a pretty unique and extensive expertise.
A long time ago, Jean-Marie Geffroy was working both as a researcher at INRIA, a French National Research Center and as innovation consultant. On a rainy October day, a man submitted to him a crazy project. He wanted to install Video on Demand systems in low-cost hotels, without any new cable and no on-site servers! He had a great idea but didn’t have the smallest beginning of a technical solution…
High risk, damn fun on the horizon!, Jean-Marie thought…
Excited by the challenge, he accepted the mission. He quickly designed and implemented a solution, based on the emerging power-line adapters and set-top boxes. He convinced mates of INRIA mates that had created one of the biggest set-top boxes companies to use their hardware and develop a specific firmware. This gave birth of an extremely and innovative low-cost solution, perfectly fulfilling the customer’s project.
Jean-Marie got so much involved into this project and got so much fun that he thought that the next innovation project would be his own! So he set himself on the alert…
He didn’t wait too long…
The story of a burning passion
Mantano is the fruit of a passionate love between Jean-Marie and the e-paper technologies, and of fantastic meeting with key people and companies in this area.
In 2007 Jean-Marie was called as a last-minute fireman to save a project which was stuck and doomed to fail. A famous newspaper had planned to launch an e-paper edition on the father of all e-paper devices, but the development of the required device firmware was stalled at a dead end. He fell in love at first glance with this eye-friendly technology and simple devices who reminded him some good ol’ times…
So he jumped on this occasion and did the job beyond expectations. Then, addicted to this exciting emerging technology, he developed another firmware with improved architecture and performances, and showcased it to Netronix, one of the biggest device manufacturer. This was the start of a very exciting collaboration. Jean-Marie became technical consultant for this manufacturer, developed a lot of stuff for them and trained engineers and became known in the engineering team as “Mr Professor”!
This was the inception of Mantano, whose name means “To Learn”, as well as “I’m learning”, in Ancient Greek. For a company focused on reading apps, this was a perfect naming…
The early days: flexible devices!
The first project was a flexible e-paper device with pressure-sensitive stylus, tailored for professional users. Mantano defined the technical specs and developed a complete firmware including a powerful reading app with advanced annotation features and best-in-class performances.
But a guy called Steve launched another device called “iPad”, which was a terrible name at this time. It was doomed to fail. But it quickly became a stellar success, and promoting gray-scale devices to professionals became a real challenge during the iPad-craze.
So Mantano quickly pivoted and focused on pure software and launched in April 2011 an app which quickly became a reference for his performances, quality and feature set. It was “Mantano Reader”, on Android. 1 year later, an iOS version was published.
The growing reputation
The Android reading app became extremely popular and recognized for its performances and feature set. It became the showcase of our skills and allowed us to receive an incredible of incoming requests from companies at the opposite of our size spectrum, such as Lenovo, Samsung, Orange, Hachette Livre, the New York Public Library, and many, many others!
In 2015 Jean-Marie was elected at the Board of Directors of the Readium Foundation, and in 2016 at the board of the European Digital Reading Lab. To kickstart the EDRLab, Mantano developed the implementation of the Readium LCP DRM, and contributed it to the Readium Foundation.
Still learning: the Gift of Tongues!
Always in the quest of developing tools for knowledge and education, Mantano has established a partnership with the pioneer and most famous publisher of self-study language learning methods, Assimil! This is a very rare opportunity made possible by a fantastic human venture and Mantano’s passion for the Assimil methods, built on Jean-Marie’s family background.
In the collective memory of the French, the Assimil method inspires efficiency and seriousness in good mood. It was even used in films such as “Un gendarme à New York” (1965, with Louis de Funès) before “product placement” practices appeared!
Mantano has supercharged the Assimil e-methods and allowed Assimil to publish more than 30 apps on iOS and Android in less than 4 month thanks to a innovative platform developed specifically.
The name of Mantano is now associated with Assimil for long!
A future with a grain of AI!
After this first iteration dedicated to develop rock-solid products and reputation, Mantano is now leveraging Jean-Marie’s AI background to progressively integrate a smart touch in his existing products, and to create new disruptive ones.
Stay tuned, we’ll have fun!