We predicted ereaders were going to be a big thing at CES this year and we weren't wrong. Following on from a slurry of electronic replacements for your paperback last year, it seems the ereader has grown from strength to strength, hauling some big names aboard the bandwagon, as well as a few offerings from those lesser known.
Newbies pave the way
We already mentioned the offerings from DMC Worldwide, six ereaders in two ranges called Tidal and Ocean which will connect to the Copia community – an open platform that combines content with social networking for recommendations and chat, rather like a portable book club.
The six devices (Ocean9, Ocean9 3G, Ocean6, Tidal, Tidal Touch and Tidal Touch 3G) are made up four 6-inch models and two 9-inchers which between them pack choices of touchscreen or keyboard, monochrome or colour displays, and 3G or Wifi. They generally all come with a 4GB internal memory and micro SD slot, however there is also the option of 2GB version in the Tidal ereader, the budget version of family.
They'll be selling online in the States from April and in stores from June costing between $199-$299. We're still waiting to hear about UK plans.
Samsung jumps aboard
Elsewhere, Samsung joined the ereader party with two new devices – the 6-inch E6 and 10-inch E101. Expect both versions to pack handwriting recognition for annotating books with the included stylus, a built-in dictionary and a built-in MP3 player for both listening to audio books, or listening to music while you read. You can even have your ebook read out to you thanks to Samsung's text-to-speech engine, and the E101 will boast additional functions such as calligraphy and cut, copy and paste editing.
All global ebook formats will be supported, and both devices will come packing wireless connectivity for downloading and sharing books. Expect to see these on the shelf in the UK from March, prices to be confirmed.
Two screens or one?
Amidst all the talk of dual screen ereaders, MSI has become one of the first companies to actually show off one in action. A bit different to your regular ereader, this device packs two 10-inch capacitive multitouch screens, an Intel Atom processor and Windows 7. More like a netbook than an ereader? Perhaps, but we're excited to see one running something other than the currently, rather buggy beta software.
Plonking itself a similar position between netbook and ereader was the enTourage eDGe, pitched as a "dualbook" combining the features of an ereader, netbook, notepad and audio/video recorder in one. Shouldn't that be a quadbook then? Anyway, shown off at the Marvell booth, our first impressions were somewhat shaky due to its 1.3kg weight and rather cumbersome design – it's certainly edging its way into more of a netbook category than ereader in our book.
Finally we have the Cool-er readers we told you about a few days ago, including the portable Compact with its 2GB on board memory and the Wifi-enabled Connect complete with touchscreen, not to mention the worldwide shipping of the bigger, 9.7-inch Kindle DX from 19 January.
It certainly seems like manufacturers are putting a lot of belief in the success of ereaders, but would you buy one? Which design appeals to you? Let us know what you think below.
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