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The first announced SiPix-based device was BenQ’s nReader K60. It is oriented mostly at the Chinese market and at BenQ’s Chinese service that sales electronic texts and educational materials. BenQ owes its precedence in mastering SiPix displays to close ties with AU Optronics (both companies spun off from Acer). There is another Chinese maker Jinke Electronics which produces its e-book readers under the Hanlin brand and also distributes them with localized firmware on other markets.

There are four Hanlin models with SiPix displays. Two of them are equipped with a keyboard instead of a joystick (you can see the difference between the two versions of the 9-inch model):

I must confess the 9-inch model looks much better than the earlier angular products from Jinke/Hanlin. This is due to its rather large size, though. The model with a 6-inch display still looks somewhat angular.

The Hanlin A6 with a 6-inch display and the Hanlin A9 with a 9-inch display are scheduled for a March release. The pricing is going to be very affordable in comparison with E Ink-based devices: $275-280 for the 6-incher and $325-330 for the 9-incher. It looks like people at PVI have something to worry about. Even considering that the retail pricing of both readers is going to be higher than recommended, there is no other inexpensive 9-inch alternative for working with technical PDFs and reading magazines as yet. When it comes to E Ink-based products, you can only find a 6-inch reader for that price. Such small screens are no good for reading PDF files.

Besides, both readers, as mentioned above, support touch input without a stylus. The devices will be shipped with preinstalled dictionaries and will support various helpful features such as localized search, side notes, news aggregator, etc.

The A6 and A9 models differ in mass and weight as well as in screen resolution. The A6 measures 185.2 x 124.6 x 10.9 millimeters; the A9 measures 262 x 170 x 11.9 millimeters. They weigh 260 and 390 grams, respectively. The screen resolution of the A6 is 800x600 pixels. The A9 is 1025x768 pixels (16 grades of gray). Both are based on a Samsung ARM 400MHz processor. They are equipped with a detachable Li-Ion 1600mAh battery, a gyroscope, a Wi-Fi module, and an optical 3G module. The A6 comes with 2 gigabytes of integrated memory. The A9 has 4 gigabytes of memory. The default memory can be expanded by means of SD cards. The operating system is Linux 2.6. Both models support the protected ePub format (with Adobe ADEPT DRM). Besides, they support a regular set of ordinary formats: pdf, doc, djvu, rtf, txt, html, ppt, bmp, jpg, png, gif, tif and mp3.

As for other major makers of e-book readers, Booken has also announced its plans to use SiPix displays. The Cybook Orizon model will have a 6-inch touch-sensitive display. It will support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and will cost about $250, which is cheaper than Bookeen’s current basic model, the 5-inch Cybook Opus with an E Ink display, which is neither touch-sensitive nor equipped with wireless interfaces.

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