Asus DR-950 eReader pictured

January 25, 2010 | 09:49

Tags: #e-book #ebook #e-ink #eink #epub #ereader #kindle #reader

Companies: #amazon #asus #sony

If you're hankering for an eBook reader, but don't fancy the Kindle or a Sony model, perhaps this 9in monster due from Asus will be more to your fancy?

While the company has been tight-lipped about its up-coming DR-950 eReader, it broke with that veil of silence on Friday and uploaded some 'in-the-wild' shots of the device - described as "breaking cover in the ASUS UK office."

The pictures - available on the company's official Flickr photostream reveal an interesting device: with an iPhone provided for scale, the DR-950 is revealed as using a 9in diagonal e-ink screen with a touchscreen overlay - if the lack of physical buttons are anything to go by. The size will cheer anyone who believes that the competition - represented by the PRS-600 from Sony and Amazon's Kindle 2, both of which features 6in displays - feels a little cramped when reading magazine-based content. That said, it's not quite on a par with Amazon's Kindle DX, which measures in at a whopping 9.7in.

While the display might be smaller than Amazon's Kindle DX, it has another trick up its sleeve: resolution. The guys over at TrustedReviews are claiming a 768 x 1,024 resolution - which is certainly borne out by the impressively clear text in these photographs from Asus - easily beating the more common 600 x 800 used by the competition.

TrustedReviews are also claiming 3G and WiFi connectivity, support for the open ePub format - although only DRM-free files for now - and a text-to-speech function supporting 26 languages. Yes, the same sort of function that landed Amazon's Kindle 2 in such hot water.

The connectivity won't go to waste, either: the device is said to feature a web-browser and RSS reader, and the appearance of an 'Applications' button suggests that, just as Amazon announced recently, Asus thinks it's time for eReaders to learn from Apple.

Although the images are described by Asus as 'in-the-wild', the company readily admits that they were taken by a staff photographer at their UK offices. Additionally, the fact that the content on the display does not change between shots - and features a section stating "Donation Book" where "Donate Book" would make more sense - suggests that the device pictured may be a non-functional prototype, at least where the software is concerned. So far there has been no comment from Asus on when a disinterested third party might get their hands on a working DR-950.

Could this whopping device be the entry to the e-book market you've been waiting for, or are you concerned that Asus is showing its hand too early with these mocked-up shots? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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