Astak’s five-inch eBook reader arriving next month, $150 price tag?

Image119There’s no final price yet, but Astak’s eBook reader with five-inch display might be the reader for folks on a budget. Rumors are that the device will arrive in the U.S. next month and could cost as low at $150, which if true, gets this type of device more in line with the consumer electronics market. That’s not suggesting that a $399 Kindle won’t sell; obviously it can and does. But most folks I speak with that show an interest in the Kindle really balk at the price.Granted, for $150 you’re not going to get connectivity for instant downloads, basic web surfing and RSS reading. But you will get an 800 x 600 eInk display with 4 levels of grayscale at 170 dpi, SD card support up to 4 GB, and a battery that lasts for around 8,000 page refreshes. Of course, content is a key attribute as well. The Astak supports TXT, PDF, RTF, HTML/CHM, and MP3 for audio. Without support for DRM content, I don’t hold out much hope, but since the device runs Linux (QT 2.6), perhaps we’ll see some porting success. It’s a shame: Astak has a nice form factor and the right price, but it’s missing the content support that could make this unit sell to mainstream consumers. I could live without the wireless connectivity, but not readily available current content. Looks like I’m sticking with eReader on my UMPC for now.

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