At CES 2010, Plastic Logic officially unveiled its much-hyped business-oriented Que, which had some interesting specs, including a screen the size of a 8.5x11-inch piece of paper and integration with Barnes & Noble's e-book store. A version with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth was set to cost $649, and a version that added 3G wireless was priced at $799. Both were slated for a spring release.
Alas, in April, the iPad turned up, and the Que was officially killed in August.
Made by French company Bookeen, the Cybook Opus, which has a 5-inch screen, made it to market in the U.S. (available online for about $225). However, we've never seen anybody using one out in the wild.
The Orizon was an upcoming 6-inch e-reader with a touch-screen display that used new "In-Cell touch capacitive sensing technology." It was billed as having smoother touch operation than Sony's PRS-600 Touch Edition e-reader, with no glare or contrast issues (we were impressed by a demo).
However, the Orizon never quite made it to stores, and Sony has now released its new PRS-350 and PRS-650, which use much-improved IR-based touch-screen technology. A few months ago, Bookeen showed "real" models of the Orizon on its blog, so we expect to see the company displaying some new products again at CES 2011.
Key Ingredient's $200 Demy "recipe reader," which has a protected touch-screen LCD that's designed to repel spills in the kitchen (yes, you can wipe it off), still is on the market for $199.95. With the iPad making its way into more kitchens, Key Ingredient has released the RecipeGrazer iPad app but has yet to update its hardware.
You probably haven't heard of China-based Hanvon, but it had several generic e-readers on display at last year's show and claims to own about 95 percent of the e-reader market in China. Recently, it's also moved into the tablet space with the Touchpad B10 and B2, as well as unveiling a color e-ink reader in November with E Ink's new Triton screen.
We expect that Hanvon will once again have a booth full of e-readers at CES 2011, including that color e-ink reader.
Geared toward students, the Android-powered Entourage Edge has an e-ink screen on one side and an LCD touch screen on the other. The $499 Edge made it to market in March, though it hasn't exactly set the world on fire (read our full review). Undaunted, the company just released the new, smaller Pocket Edge, which retails for $399.
A company called Liquavista was showing off new color screen technology that it hoped would be adopted by e-book reader manufacturers (this isn't an e-ink display). So far, we haven't seen any Liquavista e-readers but the company recently announced that it had developed its first flexible display prototype, which it will hopefully show at CES 2011.
At CES 2010, Qualcomm-backed Mirasol unveiled a promising color LCD technology that's energy efficient and highly reflective (it doesn't get washed out in direct sunlight). Unlike e-ink e-readers, it can supposedly show full-motion video, which is very cool.
Alas, no Mirasol-based e-readers made it to market in 2010, and the now much-hyped technology will get a lot of attention at this year's CES. Perhaps we'll find out when an actual product will hit stores.
This Pocketbook model didn't do much to distinguish itself, and we don't think it ever made it to the U.S. However, rumor has it that Pocketbook will be one of the first companies to deliver a Mirasol-based color e-reader.
The iRiver Story came out in the U.S. and no one really cared. It started out at $290, with a 6-inch screen, 2GB of internal memory, and an SD card slot. Now it sells for $199.
Recently, iRiver unveiled a new Touch Edition model that it planned to release in Europe and Korea. It doesn't look all that interesting.
The Skiff e-reader, which was previewed using a Sprint 3G wireless connection, had a large 11.5-inch touch-screen display that was touted as being appealing for viewing newspaper and magazine content.
In June, Hearst Corp., which was backing the start-up venture, bought the Skiff e-reading software platform but skipped on by the hardware.
As far as we know, the Skiff e-reader is dead.
Spring Design's dual-screen, Android-powered Alex e-reader (read our full review), released last spring for $399, shared some similarities to the Nook (Spring actually sued Barnes & Noble). Arriving at almost the same time as the iPad, it basically disappeared, though it remains on sale.
For those who are interested, Spring Design is running a $349 Web-only holiday special.
A global company called DMC was gearing up to launch a line of six new e-readers with its Copia e-book portal, which was touted as having a strong social-networking element.
The e-book portal recently went into public beta but the hardware is DOA.
Samsung unveiled two e-readers at CES 2010. According to the company, unlike other e-book devices, the Slide E60 (6-inch screen) and E101 (10-inch screen) were unique in that they enabled handwriting directly onto the display, allowing users to annotate their reading selections, calendars, and to-do lists with a built-in electromagnetic resonance stylus pen.
Both e-readers were supposed to feature built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The 6-inch E60 was released in Britain but the larger model appears to be MIA.
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