Seoul, South Korea - Samsung Electronics announced its first e-reader for the South Korean market, while the Wall Street Journal said the electronics giant may offer similar devices in other countries.
In addition, Samsung executives said its e-readers may be shown by Samsung "at an industry trade show in January," according to the WSJ.
Samsung said in a news release that its new e-reader, the SNE-50K, offers a 5-inch screen and not only displays e-book content but "seamlessly" manages calendar functions and documents. Users can write memos with an actual pen on the device and "manage their schedule while simultaneously viewing a calendar," it claimed.
Samsung has collaborated with what it called the leading book store in South Korea, Kyobo Book, which will offer e-books for the device. The device carries a price tag equivalent to $273.
Despite its relatively low price, the device does not have some of the sexier e-reader features on the market, including a larger screen. The Korea Herald reported the device lacks the over-the-air download capability that helps sets the Kindle apart.
In addition, Samsung's e-bookstore claims 60,000 e-book titles, far less than the newly launched Barnes & Noble e-bookstore in the U.S., which claims 700,000 titles.
But Samsung seeks to become a bigger player than Amazon or Sony in the e-book market, Samsung Electronics VP Lew Jae-young declared at a press conference, according to The Korea Herald.
Other features of the new e-reader, said Samsung, include 512MB of memory - enough to store 400 books - and low battery consumption so users can read more than 4,000 pages on a single charge.
The device supports the popular ePub format, an open standard adopted by many online book stores (vs. the Kindle, which works only with Amazon's proprietary format). It also supports text, PDF, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and BMP files.