Perhaps the iRex Digital Reader replaces a printer, not a notebook

Dr1000s_front_lLast week we wondered who might buy an $850 eBook type of device from iRex. Today we have sparse but official details on the iRex 1000 series Digital Reader thanks to a press release (PDF) at MobileRead, yet the question still remains. Granted, I’m only looking at the press release and official product page, but I’m still not sold on this unit when the target audience is already toting a notebook computer around the office. If the iRex 1000 was in the $200 to $300 range, I might feel differently. Unfortunately, the base 10.2-inch unit will set you back $649. Adding a Wacom digitizer for notes and annotations adds another $100. Want WiFi and Bluetooth: that gets you to $849. That’s a lot of coin for a standalone device with limited purpose.The device itself looks nice: 16-color grayscale with 1024×1280 resolution, Secure Digital card slot with a 1 GB card included and mini-USB connector for data transfer. It’s definitely lighter and thinner than most portable computers as well, coming in at 570 grams and 1.2 centimeters thick. It’s not the hardware that concerns me at this price; it’s the functionality and file formats it supports. iRex says the 1000 series works with Unsecured Adobe PDF, TXT, HTML, Mobipocket’s DRM PRC files and JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF and BMP images plus “additional formats supported in the future.” There appears to be some companion Windows software involved also since you can print “Microsoft Office documents, e-mails and Adobe PDF documents” to your iRex 1000 in lieu of printing them to paper. Maybe that’s the device this is supposed to replace. Instead of printing off your e-mails, Word docs and such: shoot them over to the iRex 1000 and save a tree.

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