Marvell and E-Ink offer e-reader chip

Marvell and E-Ink have joined forces to create a system-on-a-chip that's designed for use in E-reader devices. It should mean that new devices are able to be rolled out increasingly quickly from any manufacturer that wants to hook it up to a screen, add a battery, design a nice casing and put their badge on it.

The chip offered includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G modem and power management, and should bring more choice to consumers dipping a toe into the fledgling, but fast-growing, E-reader market. E-readers are predicted to ship 18 million units in 2012, from 1 million in 2008.

The two companies have also formed a deal with FirstPaper LLC to supply a variety of screen sizes and resolutions, including large ones that more resemble periodicals and large-format books. "To enable great newspaper and magazine reading experiences, eReading devices need the right tools to make richer layouts and complex content come to life", said Gil Fuchsberg, FirstPaper's president.

The first E-readers to feature this chipset will likely arrive sometime in 2010, and will include the enTourage eDGe, which combines an e-Ink reader with a netbook, notepad, and AV player/recorder. We'll bring you more news of that when we hear about it. In the mean time, expect plenty of new E-readers in the pipeline next year.