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E-Reader Suppliers Sharpen Prices

6/06/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK – E-reader suppliers launched new ereaders
at lower prices and reduced the prices on
existing models in time for the summertime outdoorreading
season.

Kobo unveiled its first touchscreen
e-reader, priced it at a suggested
$129.99, and dropped the
price of its current Kobo Wi-Fi ereader
to $99.99.

Amazon launched what it called
the industry’s lowest priced 3G
e-reader at $164, down from the
$189 price tag on its previous
opening-price 3G-equipped Kindle,
the Kindle 3G. The new model,
called the Kindle 3G with Special
Offers, comes with the same features
as the Kindle 3G but adds
sponsored screen savers and onscreen
money-savings offers.

For its part, Barnes & Noble last
week began offering a new basic
Wi-Fi-equipped Nook, called the
Simple Touch Reader, at $139. The
bookseller also lowered the price
on the original Wi-Fi Nook to $119
from $139 and the 3G-equipped
Nook to $169 from $199. The latter
two will be discontinued after stocks sell out. The Android-
based Nook Color with Wi-Fi and touchscreen,
launched last year, remains in the line at $249.

Here are key details of the companies’ announcements:

Amazon: The etailer launched what it called the industry’s
lowest priced 3G e-reader at $164.

Amazon’s new 3G model, called
the Kindle 3G with Special Offers,
offers the same features as the
previous opening-price model but
adds sponsored screen savers and
on-screen money-savings offers.

In April, Amazon launched its
first subsidized Kindle with sponsored
screen savers and special
offers. That model is the $114 Wi-
Fi-only Kindle with Special Offers.

Both of Amazon’s 3G-equipped
Kindles feature free global 3G
access, 6-inch Pearl electronic
ink display, 8.7-ounce weight, up
to two months of battery life with
wireless off, access to more than
950,000 books in the Kindle store,
and integration with Kindle apps
for PCs, iPhones, iPod Touches,
iPads, and Android devices.

Special offers that will be available
on the Kindle 3G with Special
Offers include $10 off a $20 Amazon.com Gift Card, savings of up
$500 on Amazon-sold HDTVs, $1 to buy any of thousands
of books, and a free $10 Amazon gift card when
spending $10 on Kindle books.

Barnes & Noble: The new $139 touchscreen/
Wi-Fi-equipped Nook, The Simple Touch Reader,
features the same 6-inch readable area as the firstgeneration
model but drops the previous model’s four
buttons and second-but-smaller touchscreen. The
new model also features a new user interface, more
fonts, and faster page turns with less flashing, the
company said.

The company said customers requested a very basic
e-reader that someone’s grandmother could easily
figure out and would fit in one hand.

The new model, at 7.5 ounces, is 35 percent lighter
and 15 percent thinner than the original model. The
two-month battery life is based on about 30 minutes of
reading time per day.

Overall it is about 2 inches shorter because it drops
the lower touchscreen found on the previous model. In
addition, there are now six fonts and seven type sizes
to choose from, and the improved user interface gives
book recommendations, along with more detail about
the book that is being read.

The new model is offered only in a Wi-Fi configuration
because sales data indicates customers are not
as interested in 3G as originally thought, the company
said.


Kobo:
The company’s first touchscreen e-reader,
priced at a suggested $129.99, is the eReader Touch
Edition. It will be available in four colors in early June.

It and the current Kobo Wi-Fi e-reader, dropped in
price to $99.99, feature Wi-Fi to download books,
6-inch screen with E-Ink technology and 16 levels of
grayscale to enable reading in sunlight, 1GB embedded
memory, memory-card slot, up to two weeks of
battery life, and compatibility with the ePub and PDF
e-book formats. The new model, however, boasts availability
in six languages for international sales and is
slightly smaller at 6.5 by 4.5 by 0.4 inches.

The device’s zForce infrared touch technology
from Neonode enables multitouch control and sweep
navigation, which lets users swipe the screen to turn
pages. Users can also tap the screen to turn pages.
The device’s Real Touch interface lets users highlight
a phrase, look up a word, zoom into an image, and increase
font size.

A virtual keyboard is also included for navigation.

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