Impressive Library of E-Readers Unveiled at CES: Plastic Logic, iRiver, Amazon Kindle DX

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Impressive Library of E-Readers Unveiled at CES: Plastic Logic, iRiver, Amazon Kindle DX

by Nicholas Kolakowski

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Plastic Logic rolled out its Que e-reader, which the company is targeting at the business segment by highlighting its ability to download and display Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents on its 10.7-inch screen.

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Plastic Logic will depend on AT&Ts 3G network, as well as Wi-Fi, to download content. A 4GB Que will store around 35,000 documents and retail for $649; an 8GB Que will store roughly 75,000 documents.

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Plastic Logic claims that content from PCs, Macs or BlackBerry smartphones can be ported onto the Que.

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Marvell Technology Group showed off its Armada 610 application processor, designed for use in e-readers and other portable-media devices. The Armada 610 is designed to use low power while providing integrated 1080p full HD encode and decode, among other features.

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The success of larger players in the e-reader market, such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, led a number of smaller manufacturers to debut their own devices at CES.

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The iRiver e-reader supports e-book files such as ePub, PDF and .txt, Office files including .xls, .ppt and .doc, and also music files (MP3, WMA, OGG), making it a music player in addition to a traditional e-reader.

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The iRiver includes a full QWERTY keyboard, and a battery capable of 24 hours of music play, and a 6-inch e-ink display.

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The wide variety of e-readers on display at CES has led some analysts and pundits to ask whether the market is on the verge of becoming over-saturated.

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Despite the presence of so many startups, legacy companies such as Sony continue to produce new devices for their own e-reader lines.

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Txtr GmBH is one of the startups displaying a compact e-reader at CES. Other companies have decided to take the oversized approach, producing more broadsheet-style e-readers.

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The Irex Digital Reader 800SG, with an 8.1-inch touch screen and 3G wireless downloading capability, supports multiple file formats for its e-books and e-periodicals. Companies such as Amazon.com have locked down their proprietary devices and formats, while others see a path to victory in making their system open as possible.

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Amazon.com is releasing a new version of its 9.7-inch-screen Kindle DX with global wireless capability, which allows e-books to be delivered wirelessly to the device in more than 100 countries.

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Netronixs 6-inch e-readers run on a Linux-based operating system and include a 3G connection, as well as optional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Supported formats range from .PDF and ePub to MP3 and JPG files, increasing the devices functionality beyond being a strict e-reader.

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The Cool-er e-reader supports 14-plus file formats, is compatible with Windows PCs and Macs, supports Adobe Digital Editions (for managing e-book libraries and reading e-books), and lets users "lend" texts to their friends.

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The EnTourage Edge features a dual-screen configuration. E-books can be read on the e-ink screen, while Web-surfing, e-library management and e-mail sending can be done on the other. An included stylus lets you make notations to texts.

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The Onyx e-reader also lets users jot notes or underline with a stylus. It supports multiple languages, from Chinese and Arabic to Japanese and English.

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The Blio e-reader application, developed by futurist Ray Kurzweil, preserves books typesetting, images and layout when displayed on a PC screen. Based on technology originally developed to help the blind, Blio includes a text-to-speech feature that reads the displayed words to users.

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