Samsung partners with Barnes & Noble on new e-reader

Samsung's $299 E6 eReader, which now has a tie-in with Barnes & Noble, is scheduled for an April or May release in the U.S.

The $299 Samsung E6 eReader is due to arrive in April or May. Samsung

Samsung's new e-reader devices have been kicking around for several months, but now we've gotten word that the 6-inch model--the E60--will be released in the U.S. in the April-May time frame with a MSRP of $299 and a tie-in to the Barnes & Noble's eBookstore.

The E60's claim to fame is that you can use it to take notes and you can mark up documents using a special electromagnetic resonance (EMR) stylus pen that's included with the device. Lose the stylus, though, and the touch features disappear, because you can't use your finger with this type of touch-screen display.

The E60's other distinguishing features are a slide-out control panel for when you don't want to use the stylus, expandable memory (2GB built-in), Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) wireless connectivity, and Bluetooth for audio transmission to wireless headphones. Samsung says its "unique" EmoLink technology enables users to share content wirelessly between Samsung eReader devices.

I had a chance to play around with the E60 and it has definitely got some intriguing features. However, the stylus interaction with the monochrome display feels a bit retro, as if I were using an old iPaq PDA circa 1998. With the arrival of the iPad, I'm just not sure it's got enough pizazz to compete at $299, but it will be interesting to see how it fares against Barnes & Noble's own Nook, which costs $40 less.

According to Samsung, the E60 will offer users some of same Barnes & Noble features found on the Nook, including the capability to lend out certain ebooks to friends free of charge for up to 14 days (big emphasis on "certain"). We've yet to confirm whether you'll be able to stream ebooks wirelessly to the E60 if you're inside a Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar store, and B&N still hasn't released this feature to Nook users, so we'll have to get back to you on that.

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