Literati E-Reader Boasts 7" Color Display, $159 Or Less Price - HotHardware
Literati E-Reader Boasts 7" Color Display, $159 Or Less Price

Literati E-Reader Boasts 7" Color Display, $159 Or Less Price

Another week, another e-reader. With Kindle sales higher than ever, and the NOOK platform expanding all over the place, it's a wonder there's any room for anyone else. But then again, the e-reader market is clearly booming, and if ever there were a time to try and knock the kings from their thrones, this would be in. As tablets and UMPCs attempt to gain traction in a market currently dominated by E Ink, The Sharper Image is attempting to play the old school card with their new Literati.


The device has a rather unique form factor, relying on a prominent QWERTY keypad, a color LCD display and a curved shaped that definitely reminds us of the newest generation Kindle. The color LCD will obviously hurt battery life somewhat, but it will help the price. The Sharper Image expects to ship this to a multitude of retailers by October for an almost unheardof price: $159 or less. Kirk McLean, co-founder of MerchSource, the company that designed and distributes the Literati under trademark license from The Sharper Image, had this to say: "The majority of eReaders available today are either too expensive with too many features, or the manufacturer has slashed key functionality and overall device quality to lower the price. We designed the Literati from the inside out – starting with the bookstore – to give book lovers exactly what they wanted: a simple, dedicated device that lets them get right to the book. We also involved our retailers early on in the design process. Their feedback informed not only the Literati’s design aesthetic, but also the consumers experience from the minute they turn it on."

The actual eBook service will be familiar to many, as Kobo was chosen to provide the platform. That Kobo firmware is built right into the Literati, ensuring that readers would have instant access to a bookstore with nearly two million titles, including New York Times bestsellers, new releases, cookbooks, children’s books, magazines, newspapers, and more. The 7" screen is also larger than the 6" Kindle, and it includes Wi-Fi for downloading books over the air. Two colors will be available (white and black / brushed metallic), but no 3G version will. Each device will ship with a case, 25 classic book titles, and Kobo software. We doubt it'll be as fluid as the Kindle, but it's hard to argue with the pricing and the color display.

THE LITERATI™ BY THE SHARPER IMAGE® OPENS NEW CHAPTER ON E-READERS: COLOR, AFFORDABILITY, SIMPLICITY & STYLE
Ships October 2010 To 7,000+ Retail Stores Creating The Broadest Retail Footprint of any eReader

08.25.2010 – Opening a new front in the eReader wars, the Literati™ by The Sharper Image® strikes a blow against the technology elite in favor of booklovers. The new color electronic reader bypasses high prices and feature bloat, offering instead an affordable, stylish and simple device for those who just want to read.

After an extensive two-year design and development process, the Literati (www.LiteratiReader.com) will ship nationwide in early October to more than 7,000 retail stores – including Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s and more – creating the broadest retail footprint of any eReader currently available. Holiday shoppers are expected to benefit from the current eReader price competition and find the Literati priced for $159 or less through rebates, special offers and promos.

“The majority of eReaders available today are either too expensive with too many features, or the manufacturer has slashed key functionality and overall device quality to lower the price,” said Kirk McLean, co-founder of MerchSource, the company that designed and distributes the Literati under trademark license from The Sharper Image. “We designed the Literati from the inside out – starting with the bookstore – to give booklovers exactly what they wanted: a simple, dedicated device that lets them get right to the book.”

“The Literati’s greatest innovation is its out-of-the-box simplicity,” added McLean. “We also involved our retailers early on in the design process. Their feedback informed not only the Literati’s design aesthetic, but also the consumers experience from the minute they turn it on.”

Development of the Literati began with the selection of the global eBook service, Kobo, which is backed by US-based Borders and Canadian-based Indigo Books & Music. Kobo’s firmware was built right into the Literati, ensuring that readers would have instant access to a bookstore with nearly two million titles, including New York Times bestsellers, new releases, cookbooks, children’s books, magazines, newspapers, and more.

Among the key features of the Literati are:
• A 7-inch color screen (creating one of the few dedicated color eReaders);
• Intelligent Wi-Fi connectivity;
• An overall beautiful design aesthetic;
• Portability and durability; and
• Inclusion of Kobo’s free reading apps for smartphones, tablets, computers and laptops mean that Literati readers can seamlessly switch from device to device and never lose their place thanks to a persistent bookmark.

The Literati will come in two color models: white and black / brushed metallic.

Each Literati includes a quality case, comes preloaded with 25 treasured classics, and includes a special coupon code for automatically loading another 125 pre-selected free titles directly into the Literati user’s account. Readers also can customize their bookshelves, bookmarks and reading experience, and can browse, purchase and download new books with just a few clicks.

“Consumers have traditionally looked to The Sharper Image every holiday season for great gift ideas that will exceed the recipient’s expectations,” said Federico de Bellegarde, SVP for The Sharper Image Licensing. “That is why we are thrilled to add the Literati, one of the most stylish and affordable new eReaders, to our holiday product offerings this year and we fully expect it to be a great success.”

“Kobo’s eReading service is designed to give eReader manufacturers and consumers access to Kobo’s global eBook service on a variety of devices,” said Todd Humphrey, Vice President of Business Development for Kobo. “The Literati is a great example of a broadly distributed new device using Kobo software to provide a world-class eBook store.”

The Literati will be available for purchase both in-store and online beginning in October at Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s and others (full list of retail stores will be available at www.LiteratiReader.com). In addition, the Literati will be available for purchase online at SharperImage.com and Overstock.com.

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Nice design. Yet it still makes me wanna wait until you can get an E-reader/Tablet/Smartphone All-in-one! Then we will possibly have an E-reader and TV capabilities within an 8" Smartphone so you dont have to upgrade every six months to a new component.

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