But have you heard of the EYE-Reader? This weekend Japanese firm Samurai will throw their hat into the ring with the launch of a device that can be used as a photo frame, movie player and MP3 player. And yes, it is indeed an e-reader too, which boasts a matte liquid screen screen that makes it easy to read outdoors. At 500 grams, it’s 180 grams lighter than the iPad. And the price? A mere ¥9,880.
Granted, the EYE-Reader lacks an EYE-store so you’ll have bring your own media, via USB memory stick or SD/SDHC cards. Gizmodo reports that in a test drive it performed well when displaying manga but a closer inspection of the EYE-Reader’s specs, unfortunately, shows that it has a few limitations. Characters are not displayed as text but as images, which is all very well if you’re reading comics but a drawback if you’re trying to search for text as you would in a document. Also, PDF files have to be converted into JPEGs, the screen resolution is rather shoddy (the 8-inch screen displays at 800 x 600 pixels) and the two-hour battery time is a let-down, as is the six-hour charging time.
So, yeah, EYE-Reader is little more than a jumped-up photo frame, and we don’t see putting a dent in iPad sales. It does, however present an appealing alternative to the Kindle, which at ¥44,000 also displays manga as images but has only just begun to offer titles.
Gizmodo points out that at this price it would might be good for reading while on the toilet or in the bath. We have to agree.