Monday, September 14, 2009
New Asus E-Reader- Folds Like a Book
Asus showed a prototype of the device at the CeBIT trade show in March. But now additional details have trickled out.
An Asus representative confirmed to Wired.com the company will probably show the device at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Asus’ e-reader will likely have color touchscreens, a speaker, a webcam and a microphone, along with the capability to make inexpensive Skype calls. Despite all those features, Britain’s Sunday Times reports, somewhat unbelievably, that it may be priced lower than its competitors from Sony and Kindle.
The e-reader market is one of the hottest consumer product categories this year. Just the last few months have seen a slew of new product announcements. After introducing Kindle 2, the updated version of its e-reader, Amazon launched a broadsheet reading device called the Kindle DX. Last month Sony introduced a $400 wireless e-reader with a 7-inch screen and cut the price on its older models to offer the cheapest e-book reader in the market. Meanwhile, two other companies — iRex and Plastic Logic — plan to offer new large-screen readers later this year or early next year.
But all e-readers, available and planned, are black and white. Asus’ product will likely be the first to offer a color screen. The move, coupled with unexpected features such as speakers and mic, is the only way the company can stand out in a crowded market.
With dual screens, the new Eee e-reader could give readers a user experience similar to paper books. The device could also offer readers the option of using the second screen to browse a web page. The best part about the device, though, would be the price tag, says the Times report. The cheapest version of the Asus Eee reader could lost about £100, equivalent to $165.
While Asus has a well-deserved reputation for making extremely inexpensive computers, that price may be too low for even it to match, given the promised feature set.
For Asus, getting this mix of features and price right is essential if it has to make a dent in the e-reader market at this stage.