$399 IREX e-Reader Coming To Best Buy

IREX Technologies' new wireless DR800SG eBook reader will be available in select Best Buy stores at the end of next month. Other retailers will also offer the device in the first quarter of next year. First announced in August, the IREX e-reader features an 8.1 inch screen and supports multiple formats including industry standard ePub format and multiple DRM solutions.

With support for a variety of formats, the device is able to interact with the Barnes & Noble e-bookstore and provide access to more than 750,000 titles as well as other open Internet e-booksites. Barnes & Noble expects its eBookstore (www.bn.com/ebooks) to increase to over one million titles within the next year, including every available eBook and eBook originals from book publishers.

What sets this eBook reader apart from other offerings such as the Kindle or the Sony eBook Reader is its ability to download eBooks over the air using free worldwide wireless connectivity. In the U.S., the DR800SG will use Verizon Wireless' network. A Qualcomm 3G Gobi modem will permit service overseas.

In addition, the IREX e-reader is compatible with multiple e-bookstores, can side-load documents from a PC, and will be available in brick-and-mortar stores (the Kindle is available only online.) The IREX e-reader also has a competitive price of $399. By comparison, the top-end Kindle DX has a 9.7-inch screen and costs $489 and the Sony Digital Reader (due before Christmas) offers a 7-inch screen for $399.

The IREX e-reader won't be the only e-reader available at Best Buy this fall: the retailer also plans to carry two Sony e-readers.  Previously, Sony e-readers were only available online.

The IREX DR800SG has a touchscreen that works with a stylus. An expected software upgrade for the e-reader will allow note taking on the device. IREX also plans to offer a software development kit as a means to allow apps for the device. A full touchscreen model is expected in 2010 followed by a color screen model in 2011.

"Consumers are ready for eReaders, but the device is only one piece of the equation. People want an enjoyable, easy reading experience with no-hassle access to content. IREX's strategy - based on giving consumers choice - and the partnerships we have in place make it easier for them to purchase a device, access content and enjoy it wherever they are," said Kevin Hamilton, North American CEO of IREX Technologies. "IREX has been a driving force behind the evolution of eReaders since its founders invented e-paper display technology based on E Ink Corporation's electronic ink. With the DR800SG, we bring to market all that readers have been asking for: a stellar device that puts the reader in the driver seat with regard to where they buy content and what they do with it."