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Asus Eee-reader to open like a book

More details are surfacing about Asus' upcoming Eee-reader expected out by the end of the year. Most notable are the low price and hinged spine.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
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Leslie Katz
This image, which appears to be a conceptual drawing, shows an Asus e-reader with a backbone. Times Online

We're getting more details about that upcoming Asus Eee-book reader we told you about last month.

The company is looking at two versions: budget and premium, a spokesman for Asus in the U.K. told the Times of London.

But most intriguing is that at least one version of the reader, the higher-end one, would have a hinged spine, opening like a traditional book and closing into tablet form. This design would let users view the text of their book on one screen (turning its pages using the touch screen), while browsing a Web page on the other.

One screen could also act as a virtual keypad, according to the Times report, which would move the device into laptop territory.

The Asus e-reader would have a full color screen, and it may also feature speakers, a Webcam, and a mic for Skype, enabling cheap phone calls over the Internet, the Times reports.

As for price, we don't have hard numbers for you yet, but Asus is known for low-cost products like the ultraportable Eee PC, and speculation has the budget e-reader going for around $163 (Sony's Reader Pocket Edition, in comparison, runs from $200 to $300; Amazon's Kindle 2 also goes for around $300).

Expect to meet the Eee-readers by the end of the year if all goes according to plan.