(photo courtesy Skiff)
Yet another new player hit the eBook market this week, but this one is a bit different than the “e-ink, 6in screen, supports x, y, z file types” lather rinse repeat. Skiff has announced a monstrous 11.5in screen reader, designed for reading magazines and newspapers. Not only does it have a huge screen, it also plays back audio. This is NOT just another eBook reader!
The Skiff Reader does have ads in their newspapers, which is a major downside, but if it lowers pricing there may be people willing to accept a banner ad in exchange for less sticker shock. Engadget said in their hands-on that the device, while not completely finished, was solid and responsive. Even if a large screened reader isn’t interesting you, Skiff has a plan. They’re planning on releasing software for several platforms, and demo’d it at CES on a Palm Pre and a Viliv tablet. Supposedly an iPhone version will be available as well.
While Skiff isn’t releasing the names of all their content partners, it’s fairly easy to guess that it is probably the consortium of magazine publishers who announced they’d be working together on content distribution. It seems like the big magazine publishers do not want to go the way of their book counterparts, scrambling to get ahead of an eBook movement that is leaving them in the dust. Presumably, if the mythical Unicorn iSlate is released, Skiff/their magazine partners will have an app for that too.
CES has been a boon for eBook fans, with a flood of news. Skiff’s announcement is one of the most interesting, but we’ve seen quite a few new players enter the playing field. Look for more commentary on Skiff and the rest of the eBook news later this week!