updated 06:00 pm EDT, Thu April 8, 2010
BenQ to develop e-readers not tablets
Taiwan's BenQ will focus on developing e-book readers rather than bringing out a more capable tablet device, company president Danny Yao revealed in a recent interview. A color version of its nReader is due out later this year, Yao says, and he believes it will be the key to garnering more sales. Yao believes reading on an LCD screen isn't natural and tiring to eyes, unlike e-paper displays.
Despite the addition of a color screen for the nReader, the device will not get video playback functionality. Yao says this will come with the next generation of color nReaders. The 6-inch nReader was released in January in Taiwan and Japan and costs the equivalent of about $280. It can play back music thanks to built-in speakers and a headphone connection.
E-readers also claim superior battery life, which can be measured in days rather than hours. For example, Apple claims a 10-hour battery life for its iPad, while BenQ says its nReader can last as long as two weeks without a recharge. The iPad has so far been touted less for this and more for its general-purpose nature, as e-reader displays aren't currently fast enough to support video and aren't rich enough even in color to accurately show photos.