In the last two months we have seen a flurry of Tablet/Slate and E-Reader devices being announced. Devices such as the HP Slate, Notion Ink Adam, Apple I-PAD, and Dell Slate have all been announced in development and are quickly going to be hitting the markets in the next four months.
We would like to introduce the latest Android driven Slate to make a splash into the increasenly competitive E-Reader and Talblet market. This device is called WePad made by the company Neofonie in Berlin, Germany. It features the largest display in the burgeoning slate industry with a 11.6″ display with 1366×768, resoulution. It has a rather quick 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, a 1.3 MP webcam (for instant messaging and Video Conferences), two USB sockets, a flash card reader, integrated WWAN modem, and GMA3150 graphics. With the two USB sockets we imagine that the WePAD will allow external devices such as USB keyboards, USB drives and more. Finally it has multi-tasking support, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi, optional GPS, an ambient light & motion sensor and an internal fan.
Now lets talk applications. Most new devices that have come out lately that can be considered slates and e-readers have no built in Google Android market. Take the Entourage Edge for example, one of the big draws about it, is that it is an Android Device, but where are the applications for it? Ditto with the Barnes and Noble Nook. The Wee-PAD will have a true Google Android Market application made available on it, when it ships.
The most exciting service that the Neofonie We-Pad is working on is a feature called ‘the We-magazine Ecosystem for publishers‘ This is an interactive tool to bridge the gap between people who want to buy e-books and the authors and publishers who make them. The premise of this tactic is to make people feel not locked into content services such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the i-Bookstore. The We-Magazine Ecosystem is a great way for publishers or authors to build relationships directly with the customer, rather then through a 3rd party. Even authors or publishers with no ebook or online experience can use the tools offered and be able to distribute their content online.
The WePad is based on a complete ecosystem, beginning with service, guarantee and support for the hardware, the software platform WeMagazine, for the publication and reading of paid content, and WeFind for the context-sensitive and searchable integration of online content. In the basic model, publishing houses can incorporate newspaper and magazine content directly into the WePad using WeMagazine and can use flexible interfaces via the CRM backend for evaluation purposes. Depending on the portfolio, other content and services from publishing houses can be integrated directly in the WePad.
We think this device is excellent, the large screen and Android Market place may really define this type of slate and may give Apple Competition down the holiday sales road. There is no word on release date as of yet, but we will continue to follow development of this device. The very thought of a E-Reader/Slate to come out, and not just make an application for people to buy books from Amazon and Barnes and Noble like everyone else is doing, and actually bypass the whole book store model altogether, and actually put the customer in contact with the publisher or author themselves is one of the best content distribution models in E-Reader History.
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Below is a comparison of the WePad and the Apple i-Pad
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.