pandigital-e-readerPandigital, better known for making digital picture frames, is entering the e-reader market with a $200 7” color touch-screen LCD Android device that ties in with Barnes & Noble’s bookstore. If the iPad is too expensive but you want your e-books to be in color, darn it, Pandigital may have just the reader for you.

The Pandigital Novel will also have wifi and multimedia capabilities, though at 800×600 resolution it won’t look quite as nice as the larger iPad. It will support PDF, EPUB, and HTML; no word on whether it will do Adobe’s DRM as well as Barnes & Noble’s, however. It has 1 gig of onboard memory and supports up to 32-gig SD/MMC cards, and has an estimated 6-hour battery life in reading mode.

Certainly a color touchscreen reader is a “novel” idea, but given that the iPad has shown that a lot of people seem to be willing to read on glowy screens it may be one whose time has come.


  1. I made the mistake of purchasing their earlier attempt when it was $300 and just a picture frame with a single font text reader built in – and never was even able to get the internet access. My suggestion after the last debacle is to not be a first adopter for this one.

  2. @Nick Bogarty: that isn’t correct. B&N uses its own “eReader” DRM system that is not compatible with any current readers except for NOOK and the B&N Reader app for PC, Mac, and iPhone.

    The NOOK can read standard Adobe EPUB, but Adobe EPUB readers can’t read B&N e-books.

    Adobe has promised that in the future, they will include B&N’s eReader DRM into Adobe Reader Mobile and into Adobe Digital Editions. I don’t know if they’ve got a release of RM out that supports that DRM yet, but in any event nobody’s using it yet. The latest release of Digital Editions doesn’t support B&N DRM.

    So maybe in the future, but not now.

    Please see this Q&A on the link that you provided:

    Q: Will eBooks sold in the Barnes & Noble eBookstore be supported on existing Adobe Content Server compatible devices?

    A: Not initially. Barnes & Noble is using the new password-based EPUB protection option that will require device manufacturers to use an enhanced Adobe Reader Mobile SDK. EPUB content from the Barnes & Noble eBookstore will be compatible as device manufacturers implement this upgrade.

  3. This…is…interesting…
    6 hours is two too few but the price looks right.
    1 lb weight is twice the ideal, but it *does* run Android. *IF*, big if, it is open and unlocked so that other reader apps can be installed freely, it just might work, regardless of the quality of the native reader.

    Similar devices are already floating around ebay and other third-tier electronics distributors but the B&N link does give this one a bit of credibility.
    At worst, it can be considered a sign of things to come.

  4. So far, app support is ambiguous; one report says it *doesn’t* support arbitrary Android Apps (a software update in “a few months” will offer the capability) but a report in the SF Chronicle says it does now.

    The Chronicle report says there is a 1GB White version shipping now with a 2GB Black version shipping June 6. Availability starts with (hmm) Bed, Bath, And Beyond. (Hey, it worked for Jetbook.)

    The strategy appears to appeal to non-techies and I’m thinking it is a good idea. With a built-in B&N Storefront and (possibly) Kindle for Android, this *could* be a lowest-common denominator reader for the masses. Talk about mainstreaming ebooks; first Walgreens and now BB&B. Next up? Supermarkets! Blister-pack readers!

    Anyway, the SF Chronicle reports is here:

    iReaderreview has a few noteworthy comments:

    It sounds like a lot of us are seeing Android and thinking “Kindle!”. 🙂

    Consumers Reports had a bit of a hands-on:
    “Pages slide in from the right”… (Dunno ’bout that.)

    Apparently the extra weight comes from a thick pane of scratch-resistant glass. A trade-off, for sure.

    Anyway, it looks like we’re in for a flood of Android color tablets, starting at US$129. (Now!)

    Amazon’s Kindle for Android release sure looks timely.
    (Now if only they’d do Kindle for WinCE I’d really be in business.)
    In the meantime, I’ll have to research the availability of FBReader and Coolreader for Android.

    As I said: a sign of the times.
    (Now I’m off to the nearest BB&B to see what gadhets *they* stock.)

  5. There’s also a Coolreader app.
    Nothing that reads LITs though, which is why Kindle for WinCE appeals to me; a lot of the Android Tablets coming out of China have CE options.

    A lot is going to depend on the stability of the core firmware and how quick they get the app-friendly update out the door.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail