Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Samsung launches "Papyrus" e-reader

The Papyrus, a touchscreen e-reader that Samsung introduced at CES earlier this year, is on its way to European and Korean markets, and a U.S. launch may be next. Leaked information suggests it's an A5-sized e-ink device (meaning it's 5.8 x 8.3 inches, a little larger than a typical paperback book, while the entire Kindle 2 measures 5.3 x 8 inches with a 6-inch screen). The "electronic paper display" screen is also a touchscreen, and though there seems to be an aluminum stylus.

The photos suggest that the device is very slim, and that Samsung, of all the e-readers we've seen so far, has nailed the styling. It has an iPhone-like curved metal edge, and the entire remaining face of the unit is plain--there's just the narrow colored bezel and the e-ink screen.

The current rumors say the Papyrus has just 512MB of memory with no memory-card slot, no Wi-Fi and no cellular WAN access. If true, it will severely limit the device's potential--there would be little room for the e-books, let alone PDFs or Word documents, and it probably won't sport an MP3 player with such little space. The lack of wireless connections also contrasts hugely to the other e-readers out there, particularly the Kindle 2 with its cellular content-serving system and associated Amazon purchasing ecosystem. That's why I'm thinking the rumors are wrong--I suspect the final Papyrus will have some or all of those features.

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