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.
Reports have been swirling around this past week that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is supposedly considering creating other gadgets to sell along with the Kindle and Kindle DX. This would be one tough feat considering that Apple has the monopoly on music players with its iPod, and cell phone carriers make the most revenue from cell phone services. Plus, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have a good head start with the iPhone and Android smartphones.
Amazon might be able to compete more closely with the iPad if it creates a tablet like device with a color screen and better internet access. However, by going to a LCD color display, the company would be abandoning it’s stance on providing a pleasurable reading experience that simulates the experience of reading a regular book.
A recent article from Bloomberg Business Week suggested that Amazon resell items that are already popular in it’s marketplace. That would save the hassle of creating a new product, and they could still make a decent profit from it.
I think Amazon should focus on the Kindle Books by working with the publishers to make the digital quality better and the prices more affordable. The Amazon Kindle app. is available on many different devices, including the iPad, and books can be transferred from one device to another. The recent drop in price and Wi-Fi only model was a smart move on Amazon’s part because the newest Kindle is now sold out. A cheaper Kindle means consumers can make up for the cost in buying more books.
iRiver has announced a new e-book reader that looks a whole lot like the Kindle 2 with its white cover, grayscale screen and keyboard. It is called the iRiver Wi-Fi Story and is available in the UK for 250 pounds. That equals to about $376 USD.
Wi-Fi Story users can download books from the WHSmith e-book store via the wi-fi connection. The device is compatible with many file types: ePub, PDF, Microsoft Office, and images such as JPG, GIF and BIMP. I wonder if the images work better for the iRiver device than they do for the Kindle? Kindle readers have complained about the quality of graphics on the e-reader for awhile now, especially for magazines.
The iRiver Wi-Fi Story also includes the ability to play music. Considering that iRiver is known for awesome media players, the ability to play music would allow the e-reader to fit in with the other media players made by the company. Amazon recently released audio for Kindle, but it isn’t compatible with the Kindle itself. Hopefully, that will be available in a future release. The iRiver e-reader definitely has an advantage with the media feature for now.
The iRiver e-reader doesn’t hold a candle to the Kindle price wise. The Kindle is available for $189, which is almost $200 less than the price of the Wi-Fi Story in US dollars. The battery life for the Wi-Fi Story is 900 pages. The Kindle’s battery life is two weeks with wireless connection off. I’m not sure how they get the 900 pages figure because reading speed depends on the individual.