September 23, 2009, 5:22 PM — The e-reader market in the U.S. is about to get more crowded with introduction next month of a $400 device called the Irex DR800SG .
The new e-reader from Irex Technologies features an 8.1-inch touchscreen and will be sold in selected Best Buy stores. It's designed to allow users to get e-books, newspapers and other electronic materials via a wireless connection over the Verizon Wireless network, the companies announced today.
The device uses the Gobi wireless embedded module from Qualcomm Inc. to allow mobile connections in countries outside the U.S. The DR800SG is slated to be launched in Europe in the first half of 2010, Irex said in a statement.
Irex, a spinoff of Royal Philips Electronics in the Netherlands, first made e-reader technology in 2001 and supplied the electronic paper display for the Sony Librie in 2004, according to the Irex Web site.
Sprint Nextel Inc. provides the wireless access to Kindle e-readers from Amazon.com, and AT&T recently said it would begin offering wireless access for Sony Reader devices later this year.
Best Buy already sells Sony devices, and will offer the Irex device in its stores, while the Kindle is only available through Amazon.com. The Irex device will include access to the Barnes & Noble eBookstore, providing access to more than 750,000 titles and bestsellers at $9.99, Irex said. Wireless access is included in the cost of the device and e-books, with no added wireless service contract required.
iSupply Corp., a market research company, said that about 5 million e-readers should be sold globally in 2009.