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Tech Report – Pandigital Novel eReader

By Paul O'Reilly

Joining an increasingly crowded marketplace, digital photo-frame maker Pandigital yesterday announced the release of the Novel eReader, a color e-book reader that will retail at $199. The Novel, which is due to ship next month, is expected to further boost an already vibrant e-reader market that has been fueled by cheap e-book prices and increasingly sophisticated hardware.

Although the Novel has been in the works for some time, Pandigital may have accelerated its launch after the much-heralded arrival of Apple's iPad early last month. Of course, the iPad is much more than an e-reader but it has raised people's expectations of what they will experience when they download an e-book.

In that respect, the Novel is unlikely to disappoint. Although smaller than the Kindle DX's 9-inch screen, the Novel's 7-inch full color, touchscreen display is compact enough to hold in one hand but big enough to provide the best possible reading experience. It also has all the features fans of e-readers have to come to expect, including one-touch page turning, text highlighting, multiple bookmarking, word search and a built-in dictionary.

Running on Google's Android platform, the Novel also has genuine claims as a multi-media device, capable of playing music and video, and acting as a photo viewer, gaming platform, or even an alarm clock. The built-in Wi-Fi compatibility allows e-mail access and web browsing and there is an easy-to-use virtual pop-up keyboard.

To make sure that Novel owners have access to almost unlimited content, Pandigital has struck a partnership with Barnes & Noble. The Novel is integrated with B&N's eBookstore, offering owners more than one million e-books, magazines and newspapers, including complimentary samples of best-sellers and over 500,000 classics completely free-of-charge.

When Barnes & Noble introduced their own e-reader, the Nook, late last year, they made much of their commitment to an open platform and wide access to their eBookstore. They have been as good as their word, although one wonders what impact the Novel will have on the Nook, which has struggled to compete with Amazon's Kindle, the acknowledged market-leader.

Of course, the really revolutionary feature of the Novel is its price. At $199 it's $60 less than the standard Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook, and a whopping $290 cheaper than the Kindle DX. Of course, it's unlikely to dent the sales of the more powerful Wi-Fi-enabled iPad (starting price: $499) but at least it lets Apple know that it's no longer the only game in town!



Comments:
Comment by laine woodland, posted 12/29/2011, 8:34 AM:

I have never hated a device so much in my life as this pandigital. My childrwn both got them for christmas and it took 4 different people, at 1.5 hrs a piece to set them up because it doesnt work the way it says. I cant find any parental controls anywhere and the so called customer service is non-EXISTANT DONT BUY THESE FOR KIDS
Comment by Tamiko, posted 8/1/2011, 10:20 PM:

I purchased this for my son but have found that there are no parental controls. Is there a safe search engine that can be downloaded?
Comment by Vera, posted 1/7/2011, 4:57 PM:

I got a new Pandigital Novel for Christmas but am having trouble with set-up and find NO assistance from Pandigital. Can anyone help me understand why I can receive email but can't send it? Also, in my attempts to "start over" I deleted all the items in my library AND it doesn't recognize my Barnes and Noble account when I try to order books. PLEASE can anyone help me?
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