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
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
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.