Samsung shows off its debut e-book reader

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 29 July 2009, 03:15 Hrs   |    4 Comments
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Samsung shows off its debut e-book reader
Bangalore: Samsung has launched its first e-book reader, the SNE-50K in South Korea. Samsung's Spokesperson said, "Formerly known by the working label of Papyrus, the new SNE-50K reader will initially be sold only in South Korea, starting today. But the device may reach other markets across the world sometime next year."

The e-book reader of Samsung is compact, sporting in comparison to larger readers such as Amazon's Kindle. The screen of SNE-50K is of five inch and weighs 6.5 ounces. It has storage capacity of 512 MB and will offer a resolution of 600x800 pixels. Borrowing some features from a personal digital assistant (PDA), the SNE-50K will support handwriting recognition, so users can write and store memories, manage schedules, and view calendar appointments. The device will also let people read text files, PDFs, and Microsoft office documents by converting those files into a viewable BMP graphic format. The e-bbok reader will sell for 339,000 Korean won, or about $270.

Jae-yeong Lew, Vice President, Visual Display Division, Samsung said, "The SNE-50K is expected to open a new chapter in the Korean electronic book market, gaining strength from the expansion of the global content market and recent enthusiasm for reading books on-the-go."

The company partnered with South Korea's Kyobo bookstore company to market the product. Kyobpo currently sells around 2,500 e-books, with mostly South Korean titles. Samsung said that the book for SNE-50K is available at Kyobo's web site. The company is also in talks with other publishers about packaging their books for the new reader.

Kyobo predicts that the Korean electronic book market is likely to grow to 1.06 trillion won next year and 2.38 trillion won in 2012. Lee Han-u, Online Business Director, Kyobo said, "We anticipate that the release of the SNE-50K will result in a sharp rise in the electronic book reading population in the B2C market."

Today, the SNE-50K will be available for online sale at Kyobo's web site and at a few physical branches of the bookstore chain. Samsung is working on a prototype of the device to sell in countries outside of South Korea. The company hopes to reveal the prototype in January at the next Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Samsung enters a growing and crowded market of e-book readers, facing competition from Amazon, Sony, Fujitsu, and Plastic Logic, which will supply its reader to Barnes and Noble.

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