IRex Wireless E-Reader Will Miss The Holiday Party; Amazon Brags

The Nook can’t be bought to go in stores or ordered for December delivery any more but at least Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) is fulfilling orders. Sony (NYSE: SNE) promises the wireless Daily Edition will be shipping for Christmas. PlasticLogic never promised Que for the 2009 holiday season. But one newcomer that did make that promise will be missing: the iRex DR800SG, which had shelf space guaranteed at Best Buy and planned initially to be on some of them by the end of October. That slipped to November, then again. iRex Technologies execs have declined interviews or detailed comment but a company rep told paidContent today it “has experienced unexpected delays” and isn’t issuing a new delivery date yet. That will have to wait until early January — at the earliest.

Without knowing why the product is delayed — hardware production, software issues, etc. — and when it will make an appearance, it’s hard to tell what this means for IRex. If the option was shipping a flawed device, then holding it back makes sense. The company has a decent reputation for the devices it already sells and selling a bad product would be damaging in more ways than one. Being mysterious after so much publicity? Less so. Also, unlike Sony or the Nook, the IRex model hasn’t been available for pre-order save a scant appearance on Best Buy’s web site at a price point higher than the $399 the company told us it would cost. That suggests the company literally doesn’t know what it can promise.

In the meantime, it’s lost some of the advantage it should have gained from its Best Buy relationship. Even though it was being put on a gadget shelf, the e-reader would have had visibility in the biggest box store during the busiest shopping seasons. It’s also a miss for content partners B&N (the device rival that is supposed to power the bookstore), NewspaperDirect and LibreDigital, as well as Verizon, its 3G supplier.

Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) brags: While I was writing this, Amazon sent out another in a series of press release that really are sales promos that seem timed to other companies’ e-book/e-reader announcements. (Sony announced a subscription deal with WSJ and the New York Post this morning.) Amazon, which has had its share of delivery issues since it launched two years ago, wants everyone to know the Kindle is having its “best sales month ever” and anyone who wants one can have it in two days. Careful with the karma there.