updated 03:55 pm EDT, Thu October 29, 2009
ASUS e-book readers due in 2009, sport WiMAX
ASUS has plans to introduce e-book readers that have 3G, Wi-Fi and WiMAX mobile data network access technologies to market this year. CENS on Wednesday reported that the devices will sport expected 9-inch screens but that they will ship to Europe and North America at about the same time. They will also be offered at cellular carriers starting in March of next year, likely at subsidized prices.
ASUS executives say the readers will be distributed to local charities in Taiwan before a wider commercial launch, likely to help weed out any potential teething problems. They will then be released as generic or branded models thanks to partnerships with third parties. Pricing should be competitive with Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader line, the executives say.
As WiMAX networks become more widespread, ASUS says it will release more WiMAX-enabled book readers.
While no specs are yet known, the ASUS readers have been rumored to ship with color screens in future models and may have a two-piece LCD screen, like a conventional book.