Samsung has big ambitions for the pocket-sized e-reader it introduced Monday. “We seek to become a bigger player than Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) or Sony (NYSE: SNE) in the e-book market,” Samsung Electronics VP Lew Jae-young said at a news conference, according to the English-language Korea Herald. But the e-reader, which for now is only available in South Korea, does not match its rivals’ devices, at least feature-wise. There’s no wireless connectivity, at 5 inches the screen is smaller than the 6-inch Kindle 2, and most importantly, content is limited for now to only 2,500 books. ChannelWeb dubs it the “poor man’s Kindle” (Price-wise they’re comparable: The Samsung device costs $270, while the Kindle 2 goes for $299).
Still, Samsung’s entry demonstrates just how much the e-reader market is heating up. According to the WSJ, Samsung plans to show off prototypes of an e-reader for international markets in January and is negotiating with publishers for content. If a Samsung device comes to the United States, it will compete not only with the Kindle and the Sony Reader but also with the Plastic Logic eReader, which landed Barnes & Noble as a partner last week. And in early June, Forrester pegged a number of other device manufacturers—including Panasonic, Palm (NSDQ: PALM), Asus, Lenovo, and LG (SEO: 066570)—as possible future entrants to the market.
By Joseph Tartakoff