Samsung Releases an Entry-Level eReader


Image from Samsung

Samsung has revealed their entry into the eReader market along with the stated goal to “become a bigger player than Amazon or Sony.”  Too bad the device itself, the SNE-50K, seems to be a bit lacking.  Although about the same price as a Kindle 2, Samsung’s reader lacks some of the Kindle’s key features.  Most noticeable are the lack of wireless and the smaller screen size, both which would be fine on a budget device but seem odd when price matching the Kindle.  The other downside is the lack of content available for the device.  Right now, the device is only available in Korea and even though Samsung has a partnership with Kyobo Bookstore, Korea’s biggest bookstore, there are only about 2,500 books available. In order to have success with the device in the US, Samsung will need to find a way to make more titles available.

One upside is that the device features handwriting recognition.  But this isn’t something that I can imagine being a killer feature on an eReader.  Any sort of touchscreen feature usually means a sacrifice in the paper like readability that one expects from an eReader.  Part of the reason for the Kindle’s success is that Amazon created and marketed a device for reading books.  Nothing more and nothing less.  I don’t have access to a Samsung reader in person, however, so I can’t really be sure of how handwriting feature could make up for the other missing features.

Here’s a comparison of the devices:

Kindle 2 Samsung SNE-50K
Price $299 About $275
Screen Size 6 inches 5 inches
Wireless Whispernet None
Books Available Over 300,000 2,500
Handwriting Recognition No Yes

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