karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

The eReader market is heating up!

It looks like the new iRex model marks a turning point in the eReader race, at least in the US market, which has so far consisted mostly of Amazon and Sony. iRex has been selling eReaders for a while, mostly in Europe, mostly high end. The iLiad was a pioneer that never caught on, at least partly because of its steep price tag and the lack of wireless connectivity.

According to this review, the new model iRex sounds like a much better bet— cheaper and with 3G wireless from Verizon— and should provide some serious competition for both Kindle 2 and the new Sony Daily Edition Reader that's coming at the end of the year. At $400, the iRex DR800SG is about the same price as the Daily Edition and $100 more than a Kindle 2, but it has a noticeably bigger screen. It's also a touch screen, of a sort. Apparently the IRex folks knew about Sony's problems in making a touch screen e-ink devce that didn't suffer from excessive glare. Their solution was to make the screen work with a stylus rather than a fingertip.

So, consumers will soon have three wireless eReaders to choose from. But once you look at other factors, the comparison points out that the current state of eReader technology offers no perfect solution. Every model out there is some kind of compromise, a balancing of cost versus usability, versus features and design. The people who say, "I won't buy an eReader until it's under $100 . . . or until it has an e-ink color screen but the battery still lasts for two weeks . . . or until it has an full-size screen but still fits in my pocket. . . or all of the above. . . " those folks could be waiting a while.

Addedendum: this article in Forbes points out that selling through Best Buy is bound to be an advnatge as consumers can try out the product.

The iRex DR800SG might persuade some folks to make the leap— now if only they had only given it a less boring name.

And there's still Plastic Logic's nameless eReader yet to come in 2010.

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Tags: e-books, ebooks, ereaders

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