Dutch e-reader developer iRex Technologies have announced that their latest e-reader, the DR800SG, will go on sale in October through electronics retailer Best Buy in the US, and will link to the Barnes & Noble e-book store. Users will also be able to access some 1100 newspapers from Newspaper Direct.
Crucially, the device will have 3G connectivity through US operator Verizon, and access will be included in the $399 retail price. Regarding connectivity, the iRex device has an edge over its competitors in the US market. It contains a 3G Gobi radio from Qualcomm, the wireless component manufacturer, which will allow iRex owners to buy books wirelessly when they travel abroad. By contrast, the wireless modem in the Kindle works only on Sprint’s network in the United States.
The DR800SG will have an 8.1” touch screen (with stylus) which, according to iRex improves its navigation. It also claims the pages “turn faster than on competing products”. The device supports the open ePub standard.
For Verizon, the deal means that the operator joins ATT and Sprint in supporting e-readers in the US market. According to Reuters, in the last year, Verizon has certified 65 third party devices for connection to its network including a mini laptop and specialist devices.
Stig Nordqvist, WAN-IFRA Director Emerging Digital Platforms and Business Development, and the organisation’s expert on the e-reading market, comments on the iRex US launch:
“iRex was the first independent e-reader player and have since then steadily brought out devices and ideas to the market. Although the devices are not sexy and lack wow-factor, they still are the only "open-standard" ones that people can work with.
“Three things to watch: 3G connectivity - how will it really work in day to day use. Newspaper reading from Newspaper Direct also promises a lot and let us see what users say and pay down the road. Lastly the deal with Barnes & Noble is very interesting".
Article written by Cecilia Campbell