Dublin, Calif. – In recent years Pandigital has grown into a
leading brand among digital photo frame manufacturers, but on Monday the
company officially revealed its next chapter – e-readers.
The company said it has reached a deal with national book
retailer Barnes & Noble to supply e-books and other electronically
published content for a full-color, multimedia e-reader called the Pandigital
Novel, model PRD07T10WWH7. It is set to ship in June at a $199 suggested
retail, through retailers including Kohl’s; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Macy’s; and
other leading retail accounts, the company said. Panadigital expects to reach
33,000 storefronts with the product by the fall.
The Novel shares many of the characteristics of Apple’s iPad,
which recently launched to great acclaim, including a full-color touchscreen
LCD (800 by 600 resolution), the ability to use multiple apps for a variety of
applications, and such multimedia capabilities as playing digital photos, music
and some video content (at launch the device will not support Flash-based
Unlike the Apple product, however, the first iteration of the
Novel features a smaller 7-inch screen and runs on Google’s Android software
platform, which will run some of that system’s non-cellphone-specific apps.
Recognizing that access to content was paramount to a successful
launch, the company reached an agreement with the Barnes & Noble eBook Store
to provide purchasers access to e-book content. The Novel will support a
variety of e-book file formats, including EPUB, HTML and PDF. A majority of the
titles from Barnes & Noble are expected to be offered in EPUB.
The Novel includes Wi-Fi connectivity to access content online
directly through the device.
The device will also be able to access a wide variety of free e-books,
including more than half a million free classics, Pandigital said.
The device interface was said to have been designed for easy and
seamless access, purchasing and downloading of content through the Barnes &
Noble eBook Store.
The device will also include advanced features such as a LendMe
feature, which allows users to share many eBooks with friends and family for 14
Because Pandigital made its bones as a digital photo frame
company, the Novel also incorporate digital photo playback functions and will
double as a photo when cradled in a supplied desktop stand.
“First and foremost, the Pandigital Novel e-reader was designed
to deliver a world-class e-reading experience,” stated Dean Finnegan, Pandigital
CEO and founder. “By focusing on delivering superior content from Barnes &
Noble, an easy-to-use design and an excellent customer experience, Pandigital
is delivering a value proposition not currently available in the e-reader
category. With its many additional features, Pandigital Novel customers will be
able to read what they want and do more of what they want on the go with an
affordable product that is simple and fun to use.”
Other features include the ability to search for word meanings
using a built-in dictionary, review past references with word searches, and
make notes with a virtual keyboard.
Users can also highlight text, create multiple bookmarks, and
change the font size for optimum viewing.
The Novel measures 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches by 0.5 inches and
weighs 16 ounces.
It includes 1GB of internal memory, and SD/MMC memory card slot
(supporting up to 32GB cards) for expandable storage. A mini-USB port is also
The lithium-ion battery life is rated up to six hours per charge
in reading mode.
An orientation sensor automatically adjusts between portrait and
landscape mode when the device is tilted, while night-read mode inverts the
text and background colors for more discrete viewing.
The Novel is powered by an ARM 11 Mobile processor, and includes
a built-in full Web browser, a built-in email application, an audio player, an
alarm clock and an appointment calendar.