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 video).
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 days.
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 included.
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.