Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Readers Target the Ed Market

According to this press release, “the first-ever e-book readers for the educational market” have now arrived. The "first ever" claim is a bit of a stretch given other devices released in the past two years, such as the Entourage Edge as one example.

Apparently for the U.S. market alone (for now at least), the jetBook K-12 features “speaking dictionaries” in English and Spanish—with promise of 38 more languages to come—as well as an electronic SAT-prep course, speed-reading courses, a text-translation system, calculators, preloaded reference books in a variety of academic subjects, an audiobook player, and more.

For the world market, the jetBook Color boasts a 9.8-in. color E Ink screen, all the features of the jetBook K-12 plus “extra components based on each region’s educational system.” This seems to refer to the release’s claim that the jetBook Color will be “implemented in schools across the U.S., China, and Eastern Europe,” although no specifics are provided about any actual adoption agreements or timelines.

The devices are the result of collaboration between Ectaco Inc., a New York-based producer of handheld electronic dictionaries and translators, along with the existing jetBook line of e-readers, and China’s Hanvon Technology Co., which specializes in pattern-recognition technologies and products and also manufactures the WISEreader e-reader.

It will be interesting to see what sort of reviews post after readers get hands-on experience with these devices.

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