Samsung plans to enter the Australian ebook market later this year with readers with screens from 5 inches to 10 inches, e-ink note-taking, Wi-Fi and support for Google Books.
It looks like 2010 will be remembered as the year that ebooks made it into the mainstream, with Samsung the latest company to step into the ebook reader ring.
At the inaugural Samsung Forum in Singapore the company showcased its full ebook family of four models, ranging from the compact 5 inch E50 to the 10-inch E100.
All of Samsung's readers (like the E60 shown here) have an e-ink touchscreen
on which users can jot notes and annotations using a stylus
Philip Newton, director of Samsung Australia’s IT business, told APC that Samsung intends to release all four onto the Australian market “in the second half of this year” once deals with local publishers and content providers had been lined up.
“The products are essentially available now but it really comes down to content… content is absolutely important (to these devices, so we have to get the timing right, because it’s critical that content is there from the start.”
Samsung has already announced that its ebook readers released in the USA will be able to browse, buy and download titles from the online store of Barnes & Noble, even though the bookstore chain is selling its own Nook reader.
However, Samsung’s ebook readers won’t be entirely reliant on regional content deals because their support for the ePub format also lets them work with Google Books, along with plainTXT and PDF documents.
Samsung hopes to introduce its entry-level E50 reader, which has a compact 5 inch screen, at A$299...
The mid-range E65 has the same six inch screen as the E60 (along with Wi-Fi) but adds a QWERTY keyboard
The top-shelf E100 packs a 10 inch screen clocked at 825 x 1200 pixels, compared to the 600 x 800 of its siblings
All four readers use similar e-ink technology as Amazon’s Kindle
and B&N’s Nook
, although there’s no backlight. Samsung reckons the devices are good for up to a week of reading between recharges.
Their touchscreens that support basic note-taking and annotations using a stylus, although there is no capability for handwriting recognition to transform quick jottings into typed characters. However, entries tapped into the inbuilt calendar using the virtual QWERTY keypad can be synchronised against Microsoft Outlook on your PC.
The basic E50 has a 5 inch 600 x 800 screen which the E60 ups to 6 inches while adding 802.11g Wi-Fi and a slide-out control pad.
The E65 adds a QWERTY keypad to the mix, while the flagship E100 has a 10 inch display at 825 x 1200 pixels. All four models come with 2GB of RAM and a microSD card for memory expansion.
Emmanuele Silanesu, national product and marketing manager for Samsung Australia’s IT division, told APC that the entry-level E50 reader would likely cost $299.
“We’re looking at a starting price from $299 – that kind of price point is the sweet spot and that’s where we’d like to sit in the market.”David Flynn attended the Samsung Forum 2010 in Singapore as a guest of Samsung.