Samsung is launching a new e-reader called the S60 in the UK on August 26. The company will partner with WHSmith, a book, music and electronics retailer similar to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). The S60 has a 6 inch screen and 2 GB of memory. There is an option of adding memory with an SD memory card.
The S60 includes a stylus that allows the reader to make notes and annotations. I really like the idea of using a stylus over using the the keyboard on the Kindle and Kindle DX. The Kindle’s keyboard is tiny and adds unnecessary space. The drawback would be having to keep up with the stylus. If the S60 is anything like the Nintendo DS, Nintendo’s handheld gaming device, it should include a slot for the stylus when it isn’t being used.
The S60 is Wi-Fi only so you would have to download books from home or a Wi-Fi hot spot. Amazon offers a choice of Wi-Fi or 3G versions of the Kindle. As for book formats, the device includes ePub, PDF and TXT files, as well as MP3 and text to speech options.
Samsung is a great company known for its well designed electronics. The sleek design of the S60 holds great promise and possible competition for the Kindle, however, it is still a bit pricey and is currently targeting the UK market.
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:
| Screen Size
| Books Available