Updated: 2010 really is shaping up as the year of the ebook reader. The latest entry: iRex's $400 DR800SG. It has an 8.1-inch stylus touchscreen, 3G Gobi chip with unlimited Verizon data, and books from Barnes & Noble's ebook store.


B&N has about 750,000 titles, including new releases at $10. The DR800SG will also be able to download over 1,100 newspapers from Newspapers Direct, and supports the open ePub book format (along with PDF, TXT, eReader, and Fictionwise). The device has 2GB of memory, enough to store about 1500 books, but no additional memory card readers.

And while the Kindle's CDMA connectivity ties it to Sprint, the DR800SG's Qualcomm Gobi chip means it will work on overseas HSDPA networks: Not only will the same product ship in Europe, but the press release promises international roaming sometime next year. Yes, the included 3G data is unlimited (no contract required), but there's no browser—so it'd take a lot of books to freak Verizon out.

In use, your thumb turns pages using a button on the left, but since the DR800SG uses a Wacom tablet layer under the E-Ink display, you can't use your finger to touch, just the stylus. Pages do turn quickly, though, and you can rotate text into landscape mode.

A leather cover and stylus (pictured) will be included when the DR800SG hits Best Buy in October, and Europe by mid-next year. [iRex Technologies]


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