I’ve been doing my best to stay updated with some of the developments related to e-book readers. The BDRA blog is certainly a useful resource for this and recent entries by Emma, Terese and Ming have all been very helpful in this respect.
An article in the Times Online (from the 6th September) recently caught my attention. It focused on a new e-book reader from a company called Asus which, apparently, should be available by Christmas this year. According to this article, the Asus ‘Eee reader’ claims to be ‘cleverer’ and ‘more versatile’ than existing readers on the market. So what is it about this e-book reader that makes it different?
There are several features of this product that make me believe it may change the e-book reader market. The first, is that the Eee reader will have two screens, with a hinged spine to make it open out like a printed book. It will also have touch-screen capabilities, enabling readers to turn the pages by moving them from one screen to the next. The pages will be shown in colour and one side of the screen may be used to browse web pages, or could act as a ‘virtual keyboard.’
These features, plus further discussion around the possibility of webcams, speakers and microphones for Skype, meant that I began to think that Asus may be justified in thinking this product will ‘shake up’ the existing market of e-book readers. They are well qualified to do so, as Asus created the Eee PC which helped to start the current Netbook craze.
On top of these innovations, Asus is aiming to make it the cheapest digital reader on the market, making it even more accessible to the general public and meaning that the use of e-book readers as a whole will grow. Asus hope to produce two versions: a budget version and a premium version, with the budget version costing somewhere in the region of £100.
At the time of writing this blog, the final details of the device are yet to be confirmed. However, with the speed at which these things develop I would not be surprised if, by Christmas, there are more features added to the list above. I will certainly be watching with interest to see how this develops!
Dr Kelly Barklamb