Hearing all the hoopla yesterday, you might have thought iRex was a newcomer to the world of e-book reading devices. That's not the case.
I first mentioned the iRex--a Dutch company which was a spinoff of Royal Philips Electronics--on my blog in January, 2006. At that time their early version of an e-reader was being called the iLiad and was scheduled to be launched in April, 2006. In July, 2006, I reported:
". . . the iRex was scheduled to be released on July 11th. I was shocked to see the advertised price of the iLiad was $811 . . . I [don't] picture them selling many of those babies."Two years later in May, 2008, I said: ". . . the price has come down. The newest version of the iLiad is *only* $699. More importantly, however, The Bookseller had an article on Monday about the iLiad: 'Borders is to become the first seller of e-book readers in the United Kingdom with seven stores stocking the iLiad reader . . .'"
In September, 2008, I reported: that iRex had distributed a press release:
Gill & Macmillan, the leading Irish book publisher, today launched a pilot scheme that will take some weight off the shoulders of the first-year pupils of Caritas College, Ballyfermot . . . St. Brendan’s class, a group of 18 first year students at the all-girl school . . . will become the first class of students worldwide to replace their academic load with the iLiad, an electronic book device.Ten days later, BusinessWeek reported on an experiment in France with a prototype digital device from iRex called the Read & Go:
The trial of the prototype will wrap up this month, and by 2009, France Telecom (FTE) aims to start distributing the Read & Go in conjunction with a subscription-based news service of the same name. For a monthly charge similar to a mobile service plan, customers will receive an over-the-air stream of aggregated content from a wide assortment of information sources. Alongside the articles will be ads that help defray the cost of the service.The article indicated France Telecom was "partnering" with the newspaper industry to offer the major French newspapers, such as Le Monde and Le Figaro, through its cellular network. Ads were planned to run alongside the articles, providing revenue to offset the cost of the service. The newspapers would receive a cut from the subscription fees for Read & Go.
So iRex is not a Johnny-come-lately, and yesterday's announcement was the culmination of years of development. Barnes & Noble has agreed to offer e-books and newspapers for download on the DR800SG although The New York Times claims a deal to put the B&N brand on the e-reader fell through.Publishers Weekly reported:
The new device has a 8.1” black & white e-ink touchscreen; offers wireless 3G connectivity through the Verizon network and will cost $399. The iRex DR800SG and [sic] will be available for sale through Best Buy chain by next month.In talking about iRex, the New York Times said:
By all accounts, e-readers are set to have a breakout year. Slightly more than one million of them were sold globally in 2008, according to the market research firm iSuppli. The firm predicts that 5.2 million will be sold this year, more than half of them in North America, driven by the popularity and promotion of the Kindle, which is available only through Amazon’s Web site.Engadget has photos of the DR800SG here. Better yet, watch the e-reader being demonstrated on Fox News here.
Read The New York Times article here.