E-Reader Drought Breaking? Not Quite, But Closer

Black-mini,-pink-cover-for-The e-book market in Australia is still pretty flat. Most of the people I know who own one picked theirs up while OS. Or online. It's not like you can walk in to Officeworks and be overwhelmed by choice, so it's good to hear of one maker's effort to capture the local market.

Overnight, Giz ran an item on iRex’s $US400 DR800SG. It has an 8.1-inch touchscreen, 3G Gobi chip with unlimited Verizon data access and wireless downloads from Barnes & Noble’s e-book store. Not long before this, we heard about the Courier - which, I know, is not an e-book, but could fill that function if needed. As can an iPhone (though I don't recommend it) or a Blackberry (nada on that one, too, too small) and a host of other devices, not least of which is the Kindle.

But the e-book war seems largely contained to the US, as Giz reported back in May, when Bebook launched its first product in Oz.

Then, this morning Giz got the word on a new e-reader from BeBook, the Mini.

The blurb, for your pleasure

With its 5-inch E-Ink screen, the readable area is just 1-inch smaller across. This ensures optimal portability and readability at the same time. The new 8-level greyscale screen approximates the experience of reading printed text... The BeBook Mini has a fast 400mhz Arm processor for fast page turning and a convenient thumb wheel for even more reading convenience.

I dunno about the size of that screen. Portability is one thing but long-form reads and small screen real estate are not the best of partners.

But I do like the format support. Here goes: ePub, PDF, doc, html, bmp, jpg, png, gif, tif, djvu, fb2, wol, txt, ppt, pdb, lit*, chm, rar, zip, mp3, mobi*, prc*, htm and mbp are all supported. (*=non DRM). That should cover the bases. It also has a built-in SD card slot and USB 2.0 connection to expand the memory up to 16GB using SD.

The asking price is $389. Further info over at Bebook.

Look for a Giz hands-on with the Bebook Mini in the near future.

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