How many $850 electronic paper devices do you think will sell?

IrexreaderI’m sitting here sadly shaking my head because of the Forbes article I’m reading. They’re covering some new standalone eBook devices and I’m shaking my head due to the anticipated prices:

“Though Plastic Logic won’t yet reveal the price for its device, iRex says its basic reader will start at $650. (By contrast, Kindle sells for $360.) Adding a writable screen to the iRex reader will cost another $100, and equipping it with wi-fi, Bluetooth and a 3G cell connection for downloading documents will raise the price to $850.”

Now I realize that the devices are geared towards business customers thanks to the large 10.2-inch eInk display that is touch-capable for annotations with a stylus. But that actually illustrates a problem that I think is a larger issue than the price: is there really a market for this type of device in the business world? Folks in the enterprise who want to read PDFs, Word docs and HTML already have mobile devices that can handle those functions. We call them laptops. Yes, it would nice to have a thin, printed experience type of device but is there a driving need for such a thing… especially at a price like this? I don’t think so, but I’m not the market, so I’m curious to hear your thoughts. I just see limited use in a standalone device like this that probably won’t stop the suits from carrying their laptop in the first place. Maybe the unveiling of the new iRex device next week will offer more insights as to the value.(Image: Forbes)

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