The Panasonic e-reader that was first introduced at the e-Book Expo in Tokyo just two weeks ago has now hit the streets as the Raboo UT-PB1. The name is a bit weird for an e-book reader, but that shouldn’t be an issue. The Raboo UT-PB1 will be restricted to Japanese shores, at least until the foreseeable future.
Any one with 34,800 Yen (roughly $440) will be able to walk out with a brand new Raboo UT-PB1 starting August 10th. The price is a bit on the higher side for an e-reader, which is in the same league as the Nook Color. However, there is some justification in the spec sheet.
The Raboo UT-PB1 comes with a 7 inch LCD touch screen color display having a resolution of 1,024 × 600 pixels. It features Wi-Fi BGN, Bluetooth, a built-in 1.3 megapixel camera, and a microSDHC card slot. However, perhaps the biggest USP of the Raboo is its dual core processor, though Panasonic hasn’t yet revealed its make or speed. Further, the e-reader will come with built-in 8 GB of memory, though it’s only 4.5 GB that will be available to the user.
However, the Raboo UT-PB1 differs from the Nook Color in that Panasonic has worked hard to ensure the Raboo UT-PB1 is put to use for what it has been designed. So the e-reader won’t double up as a tablet PC. It runs Android 2.2 Froyo, but the official Android market will remain off bounds. There are 16 pre-installed apps, though, to take care of your immediate needs such as a browser, mail client, Adobe reader, and so on. The heavily customized Panasonic UI ensures users have access to the Rakuten E-Book Store and are able to read XMDF e-books.
The Raboo UT-PB1 will also be compatible to some extent with some contents available on the Panasonic Viera TV and will be able to playback audio or video files such as AAC, MP3, and WMA, or H.264, MPEG-4, and WMV files respectively.
No word as to when the Raboo UT-PB1 will be allowed to venture outside of Japan.