Pandigital's bread and butter up to this point has mainly been digital photo frames, and now the company wants to try its hand in the e-reader market. Kicking off this new venture is the Pandigital Novel, a 7-inch e-reader with a full-color 800x600 touchscreen display and an edge-to-edge glass screen.
Ready to roll right out of the box, the Pandigital Novel also comes with Barnes and Noble's eBookstore built-in, giving readers access to over 1 million ebooks, newspapers, and magazines. The device will support B&N's "LendMe" technology, which allows users to share publisher-approved ebooks with others for 14 days
"First and foremost, the Pandigital Novel eReader was designed to deliver a world-class e-reading experience," said Dean Finnegan, CEO and founder, Pandigital. "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 eReader 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."
The Pandigital Novel measures 5.5 inches (w) by 7.5 inches (h) by 0.5 inches (d) and weighs 16 ounces. It comes with 1GB of memory expandable to 32GB via its SD/MMC memory card slot and supports a number of ebook formats, including PDF, EPUB, and HTML.
Starting in June, you'll be able to pick one up "at several national retailers" for $200.
Mother's Day 2010 is officially in the books, and it's now time to look ahead to Father's Day. To help you do that, Borders is now accepting pre-orders for the upcoming Kobo eReader, a $150 device Borders hopes will hold its own against Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook.
"The Kobo eReader is the eReader for everyone and is now available in the U.S. – launching at Borders," said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. "At $149.99 the Kobo eReader is roughly $100 less than the other eReading devices out there, so it provides a great way to start eReading without breaking the bank. We couldn’t be happier about partnering with a brand like Borders which shares our commitment to technological innovation, high quality, and customer value."
Kobo will come pre-loaded with the Borders eBook app, giving users access to over a million ebooks, through USB or via Bluetooth. It will also come with 100 classic books already downloaded, with enough memory (1GB) to store 10 times as many, and an SD card slot to add even more.
Barnes and Noble had grand visions for its Nook ebook reader when the device first launch at the tail end of 2009, but other than an initial flurry of sales, the ebook reader hasn't been able to pluck the crown off of Amazon's market-leading Kindle. Maybe things are starting to turn around.
According to DigiTimes Research, ebook reader shipments to Barnes and Noble jumped ahead of shipment numbers to Amazon for the first time in March, indicating that demand for the Nook might finally be starting to pick up. Looking at figures from upstream suppliers, the Nook accounted for some 53 percent of ebook readers shipped to US vendors last month.
The Nook's future now looks a little brighter than it has been. B&N just recently released another firmware update -- version 1.3 -- which, among other things, purports to kick performance up a notch yet again. In addition, B&N recently struck a deal with Best Buy to carry the company's ebook reader both in the electronic chain's brick and mortar stores and website.
Beginning April 25, you'll be able to stroll into Target's flagship downtown Minneapolis store or one of 102 south Florida stores and purchase Amazon's Kindle ebook reader, Target announced today.
"We’re excited to be working with Amazon to help even more readers discover Kindle, in-store only at Target," said Mark Schindele, senior vice president, Target. "We strive to enhance our product offerings to include surprising products and services at great values so we’re proud to be the first brick-and-mortar retailer to sell Kindle, allowing our guests to feel how lightweight and easy on the eyes Kindle is."
Prior to this, Kindle has only been available online direct from Amazon. But that was before the ebook reader wars got a lot more interesting when, earlier this month, Best Buy confirmed plans to carry Barnes and Noble's Nook. What's more, Apple's iPad and a flurry of other handheld tablets on tap threaten to cut into the Kindle's market share, and we suspect this limited brick and mortar run will end up expanding to other markets.
The Kindle will sell for the same price ($259) in Target as it does online.
Right now the line between ebook readers and handheld tablets have been drawn, but as time goes on, we may see the line separating the two segments start to blur. Enter Liquavista, a Dutch firm who has developed a color ebook reader that supports video and may end up including Web browsing as well.
Liquavista tapped into a technology called "electrowetting," which the company claims is up to four times more energy efficient than LCD screens. Electrowetting involves small electrical charges moving colored oil within each pixel, and also has the advantage of fast image loads. According to Liquavista, the new display can change images at up to 60 times per second, whereas current ebook readers can take up to 2 seconds to load each page.
"You certainly could see this technology in your smartphone, in your mobile phone, in your Web tablet, in your PC, in your notebook" said Guy Demuynck, head of the firm. But eventually you could see it in your home as your television screen in your living room."
Even more promising for ebook readers and other portable devices, Liquavista says electrowetting works well in sunlight.
Just a few months ago, the Nook was one of the hottest holiday items, so much so that Barnes and Noble had trouble keeping up with demand. But starting this Sunday, April 18, you'll be able to drop by any Best Buy store and pick up B&N's $260 ebook reader.
The deal makes Best Buy the first chain (other than Barnes and Noble) to carry the Nook, giving the ebook reader more than double the exposure it's been getting from B&N's website and 723 bookstores. In addition, Best Buy said it plans to include Barnes and Noble's BN eReader software on some of the PCs and smartphones it sells.
This is a great move for Barnes and Noble, who not only is up against Amazon's Kindle, but more recently has been put in a position to go up against Apple's iPad. Apple last week said it has sold about 450,000 iPads in its first few days, while B&N hasn't released any sales figures for its Nook.
On a side note, Best Buy also sells Sony's ebook reader. Amazon's Kindle is only available on its website.
Display maker Viewsonic has quietly thrown its hat into the ebook reader ring by unveiling the VEB620 and VEB625, a pair of ereaders that have so far been unaccompanied by a press release or any kind of fanfare.
Both models sport a 6-inch E-ink display, 2GB of onboard storage, and an accelerometer so you can view your ebooks in either landscape or portrait mode. Other features include a 3.5mm headset jack, SD card slot, a 0.5W speaker, support for MP3 audio, and support for XML (epub, fb2), HTML (HTML, HTM), PDF, TXT, and RTF.
Viewsonic says you can turn pages by using the left and right buttons or by shaking the ereaders left or right. The slightly taller (10.9 inches vs 9.9 inches) VEB625 adds touch functionality to the mix so you can also use a finger swipe to turn pages, take freehand notes and highlight sections, and peck notes on a virtual keyboard. In addition, the VEB625 integrates Wi-Fi connectivity.
Apple is expected to release an update to the popular iTunes software this Saturday in conjunction with the launch of the much anticipated iPad. Many of the software enhancements are meant to support features of the Apple tablet. Some updates that users can look forward to are improved Genius mixes, redesign of iTunes store categories, and an improved device management interface.
For Genius mixes, users will be able to play them via iTunes DJ, and rearrange them simply by dragging them. As far as iPad related enhancements, we can expect the “audiobooks” category to be absorbed into the new iBook store. Newspaper and magazines may also end up under this heading. Apple may also beging using some sort of shorthand to indicate is content is designed to work best with the iPad or iPod/iPhone.
One new feature will be the ability to convert audio on the fly to 128kbps AAC when syncing to a device. This was previously only available with the iPod Shuffle. The conversion saves space on the device, but leaves the computer files unchanged. How do the iTunes users out there feel about these changes? Anything to write home about?
When Apple announced its iBook store there was one publisher conspicuously absent: Random House. In case you don’t keep up with the wheelings and dealings of the publishing industry, Random House is the largest publisher in the world. Now we’re hearing the strange truth about why they won’t be jumping on the iPad bandwagon. According to the Financial Times, Random House doesn’t want to start an ebook price war.
We certainly find this confusing, as most other publishers are moving ahead full speed with the apparent intention to cause just that. The Amazon model has always rubbed publishers the wrong way. Amazon simply buys the book licenses and sells them for whatever they want (usually $9.99). Many in the industry feared that ten bucks would just become the default price for a book, much as $.99 became the price for music. Apple will allow them to pick their price, and pay Cupertino a 30% cut of that.
It could be that Random House just wants to stay above the fray until the whole thing is worked out. Maybe if the iPad really takes off, Random House works will deluge the iBook store. Are you concerned about this impending of future of siloed content? Will we ever be able to just get everything in one place?
Any manufacters still dragging their feet when it comes to getting into the eBook reader business might want to get the ball rolling. A new report suggests there will be a lot of cash at stake as ebook reader shipments surpass $3 billion in 2013, compared to $244 million in 2008.
That figure rests on the assumption that the e-reader market continues to grow, which will depend on what kind of threat the emerging tablet brouhaha poses. But as DigiTimes Research sees it, ebook reader shipments will continue to scale upwards, growing from 700,00 units shipped in 2008 to 28 million units in 2013. That would represent a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 386 percent.
As it currently stands, Amazon and Sony sit on top of the e-reader hill, but DigiTimes predicts a "major shakeup" in 2010, both from Barnes & Noble as it becomes more competitive, and from any number of niche players looking to ride the e-reader gravy train.