Friday, May 15, 2009

UK's budget 'Cool-er E-book' reader debuts in June

Interead's Cool-er E-book will be released in June.  At $250~ it'll be, at 6 oz., 40% lighter than the small Sony reader, have an e-ink screen like the smaller Kindle's, and will have 1-gig of storage plus an SD slot.  It handles EPUB and PDF files (are you watching, Amazon?), supports 8 languages, and has mp3 playback for audiobooks.

  Summary of PC World's Melissa J. Perenson:  featherweight but somewhat inelegant, with stiff buttons;  an update with information on how it works is planned.  Interead has launched an e-book store with over 250,000 e-books, with plans to sell these at 25% discount to Cool-er Reader owners (what an oddball name) and 20% off for others.  The Kindle versions of NYTimes's bestseller list notables are usually 40 to 60% lower but prices on other Kindle books have been inching up.  The player will come in several colors.

  No wireless, of course.
  No keyboard input (no searches, dictionary, highlighting, or notes) but at $250, intriguing with the file types supported and pocketable size/weight if you don't care about the rest.

Wired's Priya Ganapati notes that the reader offers the choice of portrait or landscape mode.  She adds that Interead is "also open to working with software developers to create apps for the device which runs the Linux OS..."

UPDATE - 5/19/09: Forbes reports on how quickly Cool-er Reader's founder put this together.  I would look at warranty, servicing or replacement possibilities, and would look for a period of reported reliability.

  The article points out that this product and Bookeen's Cybook Opus both put pressure on Amazon to upgrade its file-format reading capabilities on the Kindle 2, wihch is larger than either of the new models.  Both read PDFs and ePub files.  The Cool-er Reader rotates the screen, allowing landscape mode and has an SD slot, while the Cybook Opus supports folders.

  Both are lacking serious book-reader benefits such as Searches, highlighting, note-adding, dictionary lookup, as well as the 24/7 wireless though.

  In the UK where Amazon does not have wireless, I can see the draw although a price like the one that Cool-er Ebook has set is steep for what both of these units don't do.

UPDATE - 6/7/09: CNet review of Cool Reader, June 2009 Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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