Move over, Kindle, Sony and FoxIt. The company that made laptops and mobile computing cheap by introducing the world to netbooks is now eyeing the e-book reader market with a similar ultra-inexpensive product.
Asus will reportedly be launching a new e-reader under its acclaimed EEE brand by the end of 2009, company president Jerry Shen told DigiTimes. And it will have more features than the current lot of e-readers, but a smaller price tag.
A mock-up of the EEE e-book reader
Times Online got some interesting facts about the device:
“Asus claims its ebook reader will be cleverer and more versatile than the current crop available from companies such as Sony and Amazon.
“Unlike current ebook readers, which take the form of a single flat screen, the Asus device has a hinged spine, like a printed book. This, in theory, enables its owner to read an ebook much like a normal book, using the touchscreen to ‘turn’ the pages from one screen to the next. It also gives the user the option of seeing the text on one screen while browsing a web page on the other. One of the screens could also act as a virtual keypad for the device to be used like a laptop.
“Whereas current ebook readers have monochrome screens, the Asus would be full colour.
“The maker says it may also feature ‘speakers, a Webcam and a mike for Skype’, allowing cheap phone calls over the internet.”
So, a dual-touchscreen laptop/e-book reader with speakers, Webcam and mike – sounds like it would cost a lot, right? Well, apparently Asus is targeting a price as low as 100 pounds, which comes to about Rs 8,000. Now that’s a sweet price, indeed!
And what’s the best news out of all this? A tiny little line tucked away in the DigiTimes article: “Meanwhile, Micro-Star International (MSI) is also evaluating the e-book reader market, according to industry sources.”
Sometimes, just sometimes, consumers do win…