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Foxit To Offer Lighter, Cheaper e-Reader

PDF software developer Foxit Software has announced it will begin selling a new Foxit eSlick electronic reader from its Web site beginning in January, offering many of the features of readers like the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, but at a lower price point. The eSlick will be just 0.4 inches thick, offer a built-in MP3 player, and support text and PDF documents—plus ship with desktop software that enabled users to convert other document formats to PDF.

The eSlick will offer storage via an SD card slot (the unit will ship with a 2 GB card, but supports 4 GB cards too), offers USB 2.0 connectivity, and has 129 MB of internal memory. The unit is built on an embedded LInux operating system, and features an 800 by 600-pixel 166 dpi eInk display with four levels of gray, and users can easier scale the size of the font used on the display for easier reading. The eSlick uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery, and the unit should get up to 8,000 page views on a single charge.

Foxit plans to make the first devices available in black, grey, or white, at an initial price of $259—that’s significantly cheaper than the (out of stock) $359 Amazon Kindle or the $400 Sony Reader. The downsides of the eSlick, in comparison, it that it doesn’t come with access to its own bookstores—both Amazon and Sony have extensive arrangements with publishers to offer current content for their units—and the eSlick doesn’t have any sort of wireless capability, constraining users to side-loading content from a PC.

Foxit is accepting pre-orders for the eSlick now; the units should go on sale via its Web site in January and eventually move into other retail sales channels.

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