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Asus to Launch Dual-Screen, Cheap Eee-reader

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 23 comments
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Asus is launching a dual-screen ereader that should be out before the end of the year. The best part? It's going to be cheaper and a whole lot cooler than the ereaders we're used to seeing.

Ereaders are becoming more and more popular with each month that goes by. However, with each new ereader comes a new feature or innovation that leaves folks wary of purchasing a device that could be obsolete in just a couple of months. This, coupled with the fact that ereaders are a relatively new product with a price point that has yet to stabalize, means there are plenty of people who are unwilling to pony up the cash for a Kindle or a Sony Reader.

Enter Asus' dual screen ereader with a price point that pleases. Predictably named the Eee Reader (admit it, you smiled a little), the device will open like a book but also give users the option of seeing the text on one screen while browsing a web page on the other. Even better, Times Online reports that one of the screens could act as a virtual keyboard, with the other acting as a screen, much like a laptop.

Asus told the Times Online that no one would pay big money for the device, though. "Our ethos is innovation — as our brand is less well known, we have to run faster than the competition to develop new types of products,” said Asus. “Any such product — including an ereader — has to have the right combination of functionality and price. No one is going to buy one for £1,000.”

So, how much are they asking for? Well, a UK spokesperson told the company that they're considering both an entry-level "budget" version as well as a premium version, with the former costing around £100 (roughly $165). Unfortunately it's not yet clear whether this price point would be for the kind of device described above or a more basic version, similar to the Kindle.  The report indicates that the cheaper version is likely take on the competition on price rather than features.

How much would you pay for an ereader? Let us know in the comments below!

*Image via Times Online

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  • 1 Hide
    Impulse Fire911 , September 7, 2009 6:06 PM
    looks firgin awsome but i probably wont buy :'( 
  • 6 Hide
    tomtom_32 , September 7, 2009 6:12 PM
    i'd pay 200 bucks easily for this thing.
    any one know the memory on this thing? MB, GB ,TB?
    what's the ballpark?
  • -1 Hide
    gorehound , September 7, 2009 6:16 PM
    I am not going to buy into this technology no matter how cool I think it is.
    1. I own over a thousand books and I buy/Sell on EBAY and I do read quite a lot.I enjoy the fell of a 1st Edition Hardcover Book.And if I get sick of it or really broke I can re-sell at a decent price

    2. I hate the thought that when I connect a device to the Interent a company could mess with my reader like the 1984 fiasco at Amazon

    3. I can foresee a time in the future when unfortunately more and more entertainment will bypass "physical" media like books, music, films

    4. When that day comes the lot of you will be really sorry and then folks will wake up and realize we need to have stores (retail).

    5. All Digital means a whole lot of businesses like the one I work for personally will go out of business.Then you will not be able to go out with your date and PHYSICALY browse a video rental store to pick out a movie your date enjoys.This can be a fun experience you do after going out to a restaurant.
    Or how about meeting at the "book" store and browsing with an intellictual partner pointing out research books and discussing them on the spot.

    Lastly I am dreading this kind of future.It is not a step forward but a step backward.People are getting lazy and fat if they can't cope with carrying books.I only weigh 105lbs. and 5'4" and I have no issue carrying around 15 hardcover 300+ page WW2 refernce books on a 2 week vacation of reading and nightly fun.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 7, 2009 6:25 PM
    i'd pay up to 30€ (~$43) for a basic one (with one screen)
  • 6 Hide
    Zoonie , September 7, 2009 6:30 PM
    I think it's important not to see these eReaders only as a replacement for your books. Because I agree that it feels different reading from a paper, and mostly it is more comfortable.

    But in some cases, like in my case, being a medstudent, you have tons of pdf's and word documents from classes. And tbh, not only can printing all these documents cost a fortune at times, but a digital format can also be used to search for keywords! And so it ends with many people reading from their computers instead, which can put stress on the body after a few hours.

    This thing would be perfect for us students. Sit in the couch and read with comfort! :) 
  • 1 Hide
    FallenSniper , September 7, 2009 6:31 PM
    Aw its so cute. I could see them becoming popular but I could never see myself buying one.
  • 1 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , September 7, 2009 7:00 PM
    Would they have their own e-book store like all the other players seem to have? Introduce their own DRM format? I think these things, requiring licensing deals with publishers, probably take up a big chunk of the price for competitive devices.
    And it looks like they're not using "e-ink" displays but normal LCD touchscreens (i.e. rotten battery life compared to the competition and less ink-on-paper look, but full color, backlight, and better response time). That probably accounts for a lot of the price difference.
    Also, one of the selling points for Amazon's device is the 3G connection, meaning you don't have to be near a wireless hotspot to get new books. I'll bet the Asus Eee Reader uses normal g/draft-n wireless.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 7, 2009 7:01 PM
    I wonder if this and other readers can display cbr and cbz (comic book) files. Or can they have the appropriate software loaded to do so?
  • 3 Hide
    th_at , September 7, 2009 7:04 PM
    Nice to see Asus doing some price-pioneering work.

    But it will probably take an Apple reader/tablet and an iTunes book store for the concept of digital distribution to take off.

    Ultimately, it is the future. There's no foregoing this. Cheap reading devices, made from flexible e-ink, they're the netbooks of 2015, they are just superior to the book. Sure, some people are conditioned to like the feeling of paper. But there were (are) a lot of people who liked horses, still, I'm condifident the automobile will stick.
  • 5 Hide
    domenic , September 7, 2009 8:12 PM
    I'll buy it if:

    1. I can upload all my pdf stuff.
    2. It displays graphics.
    3. DRM free (meaning nothing like the Kindle)
  • -1 Hide
    maigo , September 7, 2009 8:13 PM
    Is that color? F dual screen, I want my f'ing color
  • 0 Hide
    kingraven , September 7, 2009 9:05 PM
    Well... I probably would pay 60€ for one screen (whats the point of two??) simple PDF reader with a SD card reader. Good color screen, decent battery time A5 size minimum (A4 preferred).
    I don't really require "extra" features like touch screens or ability to run software, network or whatever. Point is to have a way to read e-documents on a couch without paying for a laptop or netbook :\.
    Anything extra ill just use a laptop...
  • 0 Hide
    ttangx , September 7, 2009 11:01 PM
    This looks amazing at that price point, I was planning on buying a Kindle or iLiad in a few months but if they come with something like (especially if it has all the features in the article), I'm definitely going for that instead.
  • 1 Hide
    dimar , September 7, 2009 11:16 PM
    If it'll have a screen as large as a regular book, then I'd pay $200 for it. For color one, I might pay up to $300, but not more than that!
    Card reader would be nice too.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2009 12:08 AM
    Looks like something I would like. :) 
    I've been waiting for something better than the Kindle to come out.

    I like the idea of two displays to read from as it would make it feel more like reading a real book than a faux book.

    But my pre-requisites would be this

    - 1) A rechargeable battery which could be changed by the user

    - 2) Nobody has the right to delete content on the device other than the User. Not the Seller and certainly not the Manufacturer, the RIAA or any other organization.

    - 3) The ability to connect it to one's own system to transfer content to and from it.

    - 4) An SDHC slot (with protective cover) for additional content.

    - 5) Color e-Ink or LED display
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2009 12:30 AM
    I really want a two screen model, it lets you keep one page open and 'flick' to another page, or have two books open at once. For university/college students this is a godsend. Also it would just feel so much more like a book to have it 'open'. I will buy one!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2009 12:46 AM
    Being able to change the battery myself I consider to be one of the most important things.

    Cause I don't like having to send the unit in to a service center to get the battery changed when it wears out.

    If this device meets my pre-requisites, then I would gladly shell out the money for two of them. One for me and one for my wife.
  • -2 Hide
    urlsen , September 8, 2009 9:39 AM
    does it play crisis :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Andraxxus , September 8, 2009 9:53 AM
    urlsendoes it play crisis

    Yeah it plays Crisis every time you open the news crisis everywhere.
    But dont't worry even a TV can play Crisis.Don't believe me? Turn on the TV when the news start wait and you'll see.
  • 1 Hide
    Regulas , September 8, 2009 12:52 PM
    Cool but I see a ebook format war on the horizon now just like Blue Ray and HD DVD or VHS vs Beta Max maybe even bigger as companies want to control it all. I also see Microsoft jumping in the fray later on like they always do and try to take it all over.
    This tech could be cool for browsing the web with the no power screens until you refresh them (byby Flash adverts, yeah) Newspapers would love to post to ebook readers so they could charge you for it.
    Maybe thats why I love to follow tech more than politics. First off it is not depressing and it moves fast.
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