The tech world waits with baited breath for Barnes and Noble's dual-display ebook reader, expected to see an announcement today, but e-paper manufacturers aren't resting on their laurels. AUO have two new milestones today: their first 6-inch flexible e-paper display, and the world's first 20-inch Electrophoretic Display (EPD) panel, the largest ready for mass production.
Further details about the expected Barnes and Noble ebook reader launch have emerged, this time courtesy of the Wall Street Journal who are claiming to have prematurely spotted a full-page ad for the device. They suggest that the dual-screen device will be priced at $259 and be called the Barnes and Noble Nook, which has to be one of the more ridiculous names for an ebook reader right now.
Remember the Barnes and Noble dual-display ebook reader spotted in concept form last week? There's obviously something in the water, as Spring Design have just announced an ebook reader, the Alex, with both a 6-inch E Ink panel and a 3.5-inch color touchscreen, based on Google's Android platform and with integrated 3G and WiFi.
The touchscreen can be used to browse the web and grab clippings, which can then be viewed on the e-ink panel. Spring Design have also developed what they call Link Notes, a hybrid of traditional ebooks, clippings, multimedia and user notes. As for production possibilities, the company claim to be in discussion with "selected strategic partners" and "major content" providers, with a release expected by the end of 2009.
Storage is via SD card, and there's a headphones socket and full smartphone functionality. Spring Design call the dual-display system Duet Navigator, and as well as being used to pull up related photos, news articles, media content and more, it will also aid in annotation and searches by offering an on-screen keyboard.
Plastic Logic have finally announced details about their ebook reader, which will launch as the Plastic Logic QUE at CES 2010 in January. The QUE has the largest E Ink display among ebook readers today, as well as a touchscreen interface, and Plastic Logic are aiming it at business professionals. QUE will be able to download ebooks from the Barnes and Noble store either via WiFi or integrated 3G (courtesy of AT&T in the US).
The market for wireless-connected ebook readers is hotting up, and so we're happy to welcome the latest entrant, txtr. Set to hit European and US markets from December 15th, the €319 ($477) device has a 6-inch 600 x 800 E Ink display, capacitive slider, accelerometer, USB 2.0, WiFi and "txtr Net"; like Amazon's WhisperNet service, txtr Net is an onboard 3G connection which keeps ebooks synchronized between the txtr reader itself and a user's online account.
Barnes and Noble's kudos for apparently scoring a color ebook reader for 2010 might have been shot down in flames after Plastic Logic roundly denied any such intentions, but their cool-factor could be easily restored should the device you see here be what's on the cards for an imminent announcement. According to Gizmodo, you're looking at B&N's dual-display ebook reader, with a monochrome e-ink panel on top and a smaller, color multitouch panel (like the iPhone's) underneath.
Last Friday's news that Plastic Logic were apparently building a color ebook reader for Barnes and Noble now looks to be a little too optimistic; the company - who are on course to deliver their first, monochrome model in early 2010 - have denied that a color device is pipeline for next year. According to Plastic Logic, the Barnes and Noble employee who seemingly announced the color ebook reader "was misinformed" and not an "authorized" spokesperson of the retailer.
Having announced earlier this week that their Kindle ebook reader would be available in more than 100 countries worldwide, in the shape of a GSM version with international data roaming, Amazon have also confirmed that they plan an international Kindle DX, too. The DX - launched in the US back in June - has a larger, 8.9-inch display than the Kindle 2, and is better suited to textbooks, magazines and other periodicals.
Amazon are looking to foreign climes with the Kindle, Barnes & Noble are preparing to make a splash with both monochrome and color ebook devices, but Steve Ballmer doesn't reckon his customers care about standalone ebook readers. Speaking to reporters in the Netherlands this week, the outspoken Microsoft CEO revealed that his company has no plans for creating a dedicated device: "We have a device for reading. It's the most popular device in the world. It's the PC."
Barnes & Noble look set to enter the ebook reader market in a big way, with rumors and revelations aplenty about not only an imminent device launch but a color model in 2010. According to the Wall Street Journal's sources, B&N are preparing to launch a greyscale 6-inch E-Ink device potentially as soon as November 2009, complete with a touchscreen and on-screen keyboard. However, according to a B&N spokesperson caught on video (which you can see after the cut), next Spring will bring a Plastic Logic color ebook reader together with clients for mobile devices.