DMC’s 5-inch Copia color e-reader

A small manufacturer already plans to introduce a $99 device this fall. Copia, a subsidiary of DMC Worldwide, is set to offer a $99.The device has a color LCD and will tap into Copia’s upcoming community-based e-reading platform, which is now in beta testing…..

Not too long ago, Amazon unveiled its latest iteration of the Kindle e-reader, and Sony even said it wouldn’t engage in a price war with its rival because it prefers to not sacrifice functionality in favor of affordability. Neither of the two, however, have actually come very close to the goal of providing a suitable color-enabled device. Amazon did, of course, suggest that the Mirasol may be a future possibility, but speculation is all that exists for now. The players may be beaten to it, however, now that Copia has made its plans public.

Copia is a company owned by DMC WorldWide and plans to enter the e-reader market in force by the time this year’s fall has passed. One thing is that the 5-inch e-reader it is developing will be equipped with a color liquid crystal display (LCD) instead of a greyscale E-Ink panel. This is only half of what gives this product an aura of mystique, though. What is even more important is that it will have a price of under $100, $99 to be exact.

It’s fairly safe to say that DMC Worldwide’s Copia e-reader family won’t exactly make that estimated Spring 2010 ship date, but a new report over at The Wall Street Journal is cluing us in on a bit of a revised outlook. As of now, the first Copia suite of e-readers will “hit stores this fall in time for the holiday season,” a suite that’ll presumably include the 5-inch color (LCD) Wave 5 for $99, a 7-inch Wave 7 for $129, a 10-inch Ocean Color for $299 and a pair of E Ink-based options for $49 (Tidal) / $159 (Tidal WiFi). It doesn’t seem as if the two Waves will include any sort of wireless connectivity, and given the LCD display, we’re sure that battery life will be nowhere near as good as the marginally-more-expensive Kindle.

Needless to say, a price point of $99 would be quite capable of turning heads, especially knowing that the Kindle sells for $139 and Sony even has such electronics at $250. Granted, Copia’s display itself is quite a bit smaller that those of its rivals. On the other hand, the outfit does plan on launching bigger versions of the device not much time later. The list includes multiple models, each with a screen of between 6 inches and 9 inches. As for what the electronics will do, they shall provide access to Copia’s e-reader ecosystem of 400,000 ebooks, plus public domain works, in the ePub format.

That said, the user interface does look rather striking from afar, and if these manage to slip a bit further in price before that magical day in December, you could very well see a rush to stuff stockings with a member of this here family. Give those links below a poke if you’re on the prowl for more detailed specifications.

What remains to be seen is whether the LCD used will be faced with the sunlight readability problem and if the battery will be able to keep up with its power draw. The 6 to 9 inch models will have prices between $199 and $299.


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