Thursday, April 30, 2009

eBook Reader Line Up

So as most ebook readers promise to get bigger the new BeBook e-book reader plans to get smaller. The new machine will be the same as before only it will now have a 5” display screen and be priced at $200 or less. The price will certainly be more attractive but by the screen size they automatically reduce the cost so its yet another eink reader albeit smaller.

As BeBook is manufactured by Chinese company Tianjin Jinke Electronics, who own the Hanlin ereader brand, the mini BeBook will also be available as the Hanlin v5 Reader.

So who are the eInk and ebook reading devices out there today?

Amazon has its Kindle 2 which is rumored to become larger later this year and maybe even make it past the Whispernet and into Europe. Amazon also have the iphone Kindle app and have just acquired Lexcycle’s Stanza application platform. They also own Mobibook.

Sony has the PRS505 and the PRS700 which could break free from the umbilical cord to Adobe’s Digital Editions and maybe even go wireless this year. Although it renders Adobe eBooks as well as epub and that old Sony format its current strength is its current exclusive tie to Adobe DRM through Adept and ACS4 and their current UK exclusive with Waterstones. Today it is still the epub reader with DRM.

iRex has the iLiad Book Edition with an 8.1” screen with built in Wi-Fi capability with an option for external ethernet networking, but is expensive and remains outside of the Adobe world today and is heavily reliant on Mobibook.

Samsung is to launch its touch-screen Papyrus. Samsung is expected to make Papyrus available in Korea this summer, with a later launch date in the US and UK.

Fuijisu have the FLEPia is the first e-book reader to support colour via a 8” display, comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support and a touchscreen with a stylus. It is only available in Japan today, with plans to come to both the US and UK. The big issue is the price, a whopping $1,000.

Plastic logic. The reader is expected to measure 8.5 by 11 inches, be thinner than its competitors and today has a look that is fresh and could appeal. It will support Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Adobe PDFs, newspapers, periodicals and books and a wireless capability. However, only an elephant has a longer gesticulation period!

If Apple were to launch their rumoured iTouch as a multi media netbook without a keypad then the PL tablet could die before it makes it onto the street. It could be a classic case of a premature launch.

Hanilin, Jinke, Bebook, Pixelar same box different badge and has been covered already.

Foxit eSlick Reader is a 6” display but is lighter both in its weight and its price than its competitors. However it has limited file support and a clumsy USB umbilical cord to the PC for downloading files. Some may say it’s a cheap man’s ereader.

Brother with its very expensive SV-100B document reader planned to launch in Japan this summer.

Onyx International, China has announced its Boox ereader is not available today but Onyx are looking for OEM customers for their touchscreen for their 6, 8 or 9.7 inch touch screen sizes. It claims to do everything but is still to seen.

This list is growing with many stalling or failing and rumours of a Barnes and Noble reader, a Murdoch Newscorp one, a Hearst one etc. This is without the iPhone and mobile apps, online readers and of course the ultimate reader - the book.


Mike Cane said...

What matters are the underlying ePub rendering engines. Sony uses Adobe. What do the others use?

The jetBook, a reflective LCD eBook reader, uses FBReader as its underlying ePub (and MobiPocket) rendering engine.

As I've been discovering -- to my great aggravation -- is that the "ePub standard" doesn't display consistently across readers due to the embedded rendering engine.

This is not good.

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