25 September 2008

E-Readers: The Future Of Newspapers?

The unveiling of two new electronic readers shows how the devices are getting closer to the look of a real newspaper.

Although both models are aimed at the business market, some commentators believe they offer a glimpse into the future and the next generation of e-newspapers for the consumer audience.

First up is the iRex Digital Reader 1000, which has a 10.1-inch diagonal screen (much bigger than the Amazon Kindle’s screen originally designed for viewing books) and boasts Bluetooth and wireless connectivity on its top model.

According to the New York Times, this and other new-look e-readers will stimulate demand for content and “drive innovation so the thin, lightweight and flexible e-reader arrives even sooner”.

The other e-reader to be unveiled this month in prototype form came from Plastic Logic, a spinout company from Cambridge University.

Chief executive Richard Archuleta presented the unnamed lightweight device with a 13-inch diagonal screen at a recent trade show and demonstrated its touch screen technology.

Despite being aimed at the business market, the model will offer downloadable newspapers when it launches next year, although Plastic Logic’s partners in this venture are yet to be revealed.

Both launches go some of the way to fulfilling one of the three requirements outlined by Roger Fidler as essential for the e-reader to become popular.

According to The Editors Weblog, the e-newspaper researcher and consultant says these requirements are: larger screens, colour screens and lower prices.

If you want to know more, cnet has a review of the new iRex e-reader while this New York Times article discusses the unveiling of the e-reader from Plastic Logic.



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