eBook readers have quickly become the latest thing that the computer industry is throwing everything it has at, as it's seen as the new saviour product by suffering technology companies.
The latest to join the fray is BenQ which has launched the first of many devices to come in its nReader series of devices. The first model is simply called the K60 and at first it might not look like it has anything out of the ordinary on offer, but dig a little bit deeper and you'll soon realise that BenQ has decided to go down a slightly different route compared to its competitors.
Let's start with a few specifications. The nReader K60 measures 175 x 122 x 11mm and it weighs in at a reasonably light 220 grams. It has a 6-inch touch screen electronic paper display that uses SiPix Microcup technology. The screen has a native resolution of 800 x 600 pixels with 167 dots per inch and it can display 16 grey scales. So far it's pretty much on par with the Amazon Kindle in terms of tech specs, but it lacks the keyboard of the Kindle and is, as such, slightly smaller and lighter.
The nReader K60 features 2GB of built in memory (good for about 4000 books) and it has a microSD card slot that accepts memory cards up to 16GB in size. It also has a micro USB port and a full-size USB 2.0 port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
It supports a wide range of file formats, most notably ePub, PDF, TXT and HTML files as an eBook reader, but it also displays JPEG, BMP, GIF and PNG images and it plays back MP3 audio files.
Although the nReader K60 comes with built in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, the secret sauce so to speak is actually the USB port at the top of the device. This allows for USB 3G dongles to be attached for internet access on the move. We're not sure this is a big plus point, but it should allow for a lower initial cost. BenQ was talking about the possibility of even bundling the nReader with a purchase of a 3G dongle or as a free upgrade deal for users that are willing to sign up for an additional contract period extension.
BenQ claims up to 7500 pages per charge, although this doesn't include Wi-Fi or 3G usage. Initially the nReader will launch in Taiwan and China (no pricing revealed just yet) and BenQ is even planning its own eBook store for these markets. However, BenQ is looking for partners in Europe and has already been in talks with some of the larger European telco's to see if they'd be interested.