We knew it would be a big year for ebook readers at CES, but what we found on the show floor impressed us even still. The two watch words were clearly size and connectivity and just about every reader worth its salt now is connected to the potential of more book downloads either by Wi-Fi, 3G or, very often, both.
Computer screens are beginning to muscle their way into these devices as the ebook reader line starts its convergence with computer tablets, but it was just good to see a refining of style and maturing of concept with launches like the matte screen Plastic Logic Que Pro and the calligraphy-inspired E6 and E101 from Samsung.
The iRiver Story got in on the act with a rather neat take on the Kindle and COOL-ER showed the world it's more than just another clone by adding a few features. But, the real movers and shakers for us were...
Star of the Show: Skiff Reader
- 11.5 inches
- 4GB + SDHC
- 1200 x 1600px, full touch
- 3G & Wi-Fi
It's a tough call for this category with so many of the readers coming up with so many different edges on each other, but it seems there's nothing quite like seeing an eBook reader bend. The 11.5-inch Skiff is the first of its kind to be made of the next generation of e-paper and it's designed specifically for newspapers and magazines of the future.
It's thin like a flexible sheet of steel foil, it's got a cracking screen resolution and all the connectivity you could need. Great looking device and a piece of cake to carry around.
Future Flier: enTourage eDGe
The enTourage eDGE could quite easily have been the star of the show for this category, but there's something rather chunky about the design that makes you think it's a product that needs a little refining. That said, the dual screen, half Android web-surfer, half colour e-paper screen, is one hell of a crazy creation. It's touch-enabled, fully connected and you can drag items from screen to screen. Certainly the best integration of the two disciplines we've seen so far.
Top of the Flops: Sony & Amazon
Neither company chose to exhibit any ebook readers at CES 2010, which left all the other manufactures to do it better. Doubtless, both companies will be biding their time for new launches, but the competition isn't just catching now. It's getting better and more inventive too.
The Best of the Rest
Spring Design Alex
Dual-screened reader with Android and e-ink, but the Google OS section is considerably smaller than on the enTourage model - that said it's a very smooth touch though. Its style and good looks do it plenty of credit, but there could be issues because of the legal wranglings going on with Barnes & Noble.
Bookeen Cybook Orizon
Nothing wildly new here but what Bookeen has done is come up with a really tidy reader. No dual screens or anything flash to get excited about but it is just 7.6mm thick thanks to the InCell Touch capacitive screen, which means the reader won't need a touchscreen membrane in front of the display. Just a shame it's not 3G-enabled.
So which was your favourite and what will you be holding out for from CES 2010? Let us know in the comments.