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