Wednesday, September 23, 2009

IREX Unveils New Wireless Digital Reading Device

IREX Unveils New Wireless Digital Reading Device

By Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 9/23/2009 7:20:00 AM

IREX, a European developer of digital reading devices, will today release the details about the new digital reading device it plans to launch in the U.S. market that will allow consumers to wirelessly download e-books as well as newspaper content through a partnership with Barnes & Noble. The device will be unveiled at a roundtable discussion in New York City featuring IREX CEO Hans Broder, B& president William Lynch, Penguin CEO David Shanks and others (including this reporter).

The new device has a 8.1” black & white e-ink touchscreen; offers wireless 3G connectivity through the Verizon network and will cost $399. The IREX DR800SG and will be available for sale through Best Buy chain by next month.

The new device has been developed to compete directly with the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader devices. Better known in Europe than in the U.S., IREX is entering the U.S. market a bit late. But the company hopes to overcome that disadvantage through its partnership with B&N, the unique size and quality of the touchscreen device and a long history of developing and enhancing e-ink technology. The device will also offer wireless access to more than a 1,000 newspapers through the NewspaperDirect service.

The new IREX device has another advantage: it has a Qualcomm Gobi chipset that allows the device to use wireless networks outside of the U.S.—unlike the Kindle or the Sony Reader. IREX is also reportedly planning to offer an affordable color-screen—current color e-ink devices can cost nearly $1,000-- as early as 2011.

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