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lynnec.jpgThere have been some interesting developments recently in the development of the sub $200 ebook reader.   Manufacturers are looking at cheaper ebooks.  So here’s the latest news… 

Bebook readerFirst for eInk lovers, Bebook are planning a new, cheaper reader to go with its Cybook. The Cybook is open source, and the mini Bebook will be the same. Greyscale, with a screen one inch smaller than the regular Bebook, but with the capability of reading pdf*, mobi, lit*, epub*, html, txt, prc, fb2 and jpg files. And a retail price of around $190. Wow.

There are two other newbies which would make fantastic ereaders for people like me who prefer a backlight and colour:

Smart Q7First, the cheap Internet tablet (otherwise known as a UMPC), the SmartQ 7. This baby is meant as an Internet browser, but as such it’s underpowered, according to the reviews. It runs on Linux, like some other e-readers. The difference between this and an Internet browser like the Nokia 810 is the size of the screen. It will read html, pdf and the formats supported by fbreader. SD slot so you can load up your books on that instead of going through the computer route, and transfer your library between devices if you want to. And battery life of 8 hours plus. I have to say that after seeing a Youtube video on using it as an ereader, this one’s for me. Price? Around $190. Uncanny.

The CrunchpadAnd then there’s the Crunchpad. Similar to the Q7 and recently announced, it’s getting the geeks excited. Intended as another Internet browser, it looks like another promising ereader candidate. The screen might be bigger than the Q7, but nobody really knows, not yet. And it looks really pretty. They’re just saying that they want it to sell for under $200, but we’ll have to wait to find out.  [Ed.: I like the easel function – handsfree reading.]

And how about Google entering the market? There have been rumors for months, but so far, no definite news.

Lastly, there’s the Plastic Logic device. Another nice-looking eInk reader, this one is supposed to be launched early next year, with Plastic Logic devicea bigger and more resilient screen. As someone who is on her second eBookwise because the first one broke, I like the sound of that.

Listen, people, I read a lot of books. My current readers are the Ipaq 4700 and the eBookwise, which have seen me through many many happy hours of reading. I also use my Vye tablet and my Asus mini netbook. The Vye is a bit heavy and the battery is crap, and since it runs on full Windows, it takes a few minutes to boot up, which can be annoying.

But I’ll test devices, really I will. These new devices have me drooling. How about you?