updated 09:05 am EDT, Mon May 24, 2010
Pandigital Novel becomes inadvertent iPad rival
Pandigital has leapt into e-readers in significant fashion today by launching the Novel. Rather than opt for e-paper, the photo frame maker has opted to go directly to a 7-inch, 800x600 capacitive touchscreen LCD and enters into the tablet arena as a result. The slate is based on Android and can play video, show photos and browse the web on top of usual secondary features like music and a calendar.
The touchscreen also helps during reading as it can highlight passages or allow for context-sensitive notes.
Only Wi-Fi is available for Internet access, but the Novel has built-in access to Barnes & Noble's online bookstore and supports its LendMe borrowing feature to temporarily give away a book to someone else that wants it. About 1GB of space gives it room for a moderate amount of books but can be supplemented by SDHC cards.
The newcomer recognizes HTML, PDF and ePub (including standard protected files) for text and can shuttle content to and from both Macs and Windows PCs over USB. Pandigital is counting on price as a factor, as the Novel will cost $200 when it ships in June, even when bundled with a cradle.