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Summary:

Add Asus to the list of consumer electronic companies set to make plays in the e-reader market. By the end of the year, Asus plans to unveil…

Asus Ereader
photo: Times UK

Add Asus to the list of consumer electronic companies set to make plays in the e-reader market. By the end of the year, Asus plans to unveil as many as two e-readers, the company tells the Times of London. Features may include two side-by-side full color screens (so that users can look at two pages at once or browse the web while reading a book), speakers, a mic, and a webcam. A budget version will sell for around 100 pounds ($164). No word on how much the premium version will cost.

Asus will face steep competition, but at least based on the price of its lower-end device it should be able to gain ground. At roughly $164, the device would likely be the cheapest e-reader on the market (Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) sells its Kindle 2 for $299). And a survey released last week by Forrester indicated that the potential market for e-readers would increase significantly if the average price of the devices was cut to below $150.

Asus also has experience disrupting established markets with cheaper products. It launched its low-price Eee PC netbook in 2007, which has since stolen market share from traditional laptop makers and led to a wave of other netbooks coming to market.

Other big consumer electronics companies are also likely to soon introduce e-readers. In early June, Forrester pegged a number of device manufacturers

  1. Does anyone ever notice how all these manufacturers are "planning" on introducing ebook readers and yet, how few actually have?…AMZN currently is the king of the hill and EVERYONE else — including that dinosaur SONY — are just "wannabes"…

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