E-Reader Suppliers Sharpen Prices - Twice

E-Reader Suppliers Sharpen Prices

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NEW YORK – E-reader suppliers launched new ereaders at lower prices and reduced the prices on existing models in time for the summertime outdoorreading season.

Kobo unveiled its first touchscreen e-reader, priced it at a suggested $129.99, and dropped the price of its current Kobo Wi-Fi ereader to $99.99.

Amazon launched what it called the industry’s lowest priced 3G e-reader at $164, down from the $189 price tag on its previous opening-price 3G-equipped Kindle, the Kindle 3G. The new model, called the Kindle 3G with Special Offers, comes with the same features as the Kindle 3G but adds sponsored screen savers and onscreen money-savings offers.

For its part, Barnes & Noble last week began offering a new basic Wi-Fi-equipped Nook, called the Simple Touch Reader, at $139. The bookseller also lowered the price on the original Wi-Fi Nook to $119 from $139 and the 3G-equipped Nook to $169 from $199. The latter two will be discontinued after stocks sell out. The Android- based Nook Color with Wi-Fi and touchscreen, launched last year, remains in the line at $249.

Here are key details of the companies’ announcements:

Amazon:

The etailer launched what it called the industry’s lowest priced 3G e-reader at $164.

Amazon’s new 3G model, called the Kindle 3G with Special Offers, offers the same features as the previous opening-price model but adds sponsored screen savers and on-screen money-savings offers.

In April, Amazon launched its first subsidized Kindle with sponsored screen savers and special offers. That model is the $114 Wi- Fi-only Kindle with Special Offers.

Both of Amazon’s 3G-equipped Kindles feature free global 3G access, 6-inch Pearl electronic ink display, 8.7-ounce weight, up to two months of battery life with wireless off, access to more than 950,000 books in the Kindle store, and integration with Kindle apps for PCs, iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, and Android devices.

Special offers that will be available on the Kindle 3G with Special Offers include $10 off a $20

Amazon.com

Gift Card, savings of up $500 on Amazon-sold HDTVs, $1 to buy any of thousands of books, and a free $10 Amazon gift card when spending $10 on Kindle books.

Barnes & Noble:

The new $139 touchscreen/ Wi-Fi-equipped Nook, The Simple Touch Reader, features the same 6-inch readable area as the firstgeneration model but drops the previous model’s four buttons and second-but-smaller touchscreen. The new model also features a new user interface, more fonts, and faster page turns with less flashing, the company said.

The company said customers requested a very basic e-reader that someone’s grandmother could easily figure out and would fit in one hand.

The new model, at 7.5 ounces, is 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than the original model. The two-month battery life is based on about 30 minutes of reading time per day.

Overall it is about 2 inches shorter because it drops the lower touchscreen found on the previous model. In addition, there are now six fonts and seven type sizes to choose from, and the improved user interface gives book recommendations, along with more detail about the book that is being read.

The new model is offered only in a Wi-Fi configuration because sales data indicates customers are not as interested in 3G as originally thought, the company said.


Kobo:

The company’s first touchscreen e-reader, priced at a suggested $129.99, is the eReader Touch Edition. It will be available in four colors in early June.

It and the current Kobo Wi-Fi e-reader, dropped in price to $99.99, feature Wi-Fi to download books, 6-inch screen with E-Ink technology and 16 levels of grayscale to enable reading in sunlight, 1GB embedded memory, memory-card slot, up to two weeks of battery life, and compatibility with the ePub and PDF e-book formats. The new model, however, boasts availability in six languages for international sales and is slightly smaller at 6.5 by 4.5 by 0.4 inches.

The device’s zForce infrared touch technology from Neonode enables multitouch control and sweep navigation, which lets users swipe the screen to turn pages. Users can also tap the screen to turn pages. The device’s Real Touch interface lets users highlight a phrase, look up a word, zoom into an image, and increase font size.

A virtual keyboard is also included for navigation.

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