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Friday, May 23, 2008

Another e-reader...

E-readers continue to enter the market, with different innovations -- and prices. I recently came across an article on another blog about the Astak e-book reader. They call it the "E-book Mentor." Price will be low (starting about $150 for the low-end model, $350 for the high-end model) with the now-standard e-ink display for such devices. The interface looks a bit simple, somewhat more like a palm reader. There will be three different sizes, and a variety of features, including wifi and a touch screen. There are pictures and more spec info available through the above link, or from Astek at their product page. The one thing I note is that it does not look like the book supports many content formats. Maybe they need to partner with other content providers? It is interesting to see the product variation on a theme and to see how common features are emerging among the e-reader options. As content inventory improves it will be interesting to watch what features emerge next. Moving beyond the limited number of shades of gray currently available is a key next step in my opinion -- that will be necessary to make the devices a good tool for textbooks or e-books with more complex charts, graphs, or pictures.

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