e-Reader Options Multiply

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Tree-hugging consumers are getting more options to satisfy their on-the-go e-reading appetites with the launch of multiple new e-readers, tablets and e-reader apps for tablets and smartphones.

Barnes & Noble announced late-November availability of its first color-screen e-reader, and Entourage said it plans by January to ship its Edge dual-screen tablet/e-reader. For its part, Pandigital expanded its Novel line of e-readers with its first model using ePaper technology.

On top of that, Amazon announced plans this year for a Kindle e-reader app for Windows Phone 7 smartphones, and Creative Technology unveiled its first color tablets, all with Kindle e-reader app.

At Barnes & Noble, the book retailer is positioning its first color e-reader as combining the performance of a full-featured Android 2.0-based wireless tablet and the “reader-centricity of a dedicated e-reader,” CEO William Lynch said. The company also described the $249 Wi- Fi-equipped Color Nook as a “reader’s tablet,” due in large part to a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with multiple technologies to enhance reading, including a proprietary LG technology said to maximize the readability of the backlit screen while minimizing glare. The screen also features 170-degree viewing angle and 1,024 by 600 resolution, which delivers more pixels per inch than the larger iPad.

The Color Nook is due in late November in Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Walmart and Books-A-Million.

For its part, Entourage said it expects to ship its Pocket Edge dual-screen tablet/e-reader by January. The Edge opens up like a book to display a screen on each side. The left-hand display is a 6-inch black-andwhite E Ink panel for reading e-books, while the right side features a 7-inch color touchscreen for accessing the web and other applications. The Wi-Fi-equipped device already appeared, however, on the Home Shopping Network at $399.

For its first non-color e-reader, Pandigital uses a 6-inch 16-level grayscale electrophoretic ePaper display. Its Linux-based Novel Personal e-reader is priced at a suggested $199 with integrated Barnes & Noble eBookstore and is available at national retailers. Features include Wi-Fi, web browser, e-mail app and appointment calendar, as well as the ability to store audio, video and photos.

Meantime, portable media player (PMP) marketer Creative Technology is positioning its first tablets as home and portable entertainment devices with upgraded audio performance for use with Bluetooth speakers and Bluetooth headphones. Four Wi-Fi-equipped Android 2.1 tablets, dubbed ZiiO Pure Wireless Entertainment Tablets, also support a Kindle e-reader app. They’ll be available beginning early December in 7- and 10-inch versions at suggested retails from $249 to $319.

Creative’s tablets will be accompanied by three other Android 2.1 devices, called Zen Touch 2 Wireless Entertainment Devices, with 3.2-inch touchscreens and Kindle app support. Their retails range from $189 to $209.

All seven Creative devices will download Android apps from Creative’s Zii Store.


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