In an apparent sign that people still read books, IREX Technologies is joining the growing market for eBook readers. To compete with Sony’s Reader, Amazon’s Kindle, and Asus’ Eee Reader, IREX will begin selling its DR800SG eBook reader at Best Buy stores for $399. The device features an 8.1″ eInk based touchscreen display and the ability to wirelessly download books over Verizon’s 3G network. Unlike the market leading Kindle, which only works in the US via Sprint’s CDMA based cellular network, the DR800SG features an HSDPA compatible wireless modem, which will allow it to operate outside the US on international HSDPA wireless networks.
IREX has partnered with Barnes and Noble to sell downloadable eBooks and Newspapers Direct for access to periodicals. The device also complies with the ePub standard eBook format, allowing users to load books in this format onto the device via their PC.
The flood of eBook readers into the market place will make it very interesting to look at the book sale statistics for 2010. Will these new gadgets encourage people to read that otherwise wouldn’t? On a recent flight, I counted 3 Kindle users just within the approximately 20 people I could see from my seat. Needless to say, eBook reader manufacturers see a definite and expanding market on which they’re hoping to capitalize.