[Willem Endhoven holding an iRex prototype]
Photo by Jan de Waal.

A Dutch company called iRex is working on an E Ink based e-book reader with the same name, reports Digibieb.nl

(Digibieb = digital library, an initiative of the public library of Oss in the Netherlands).

Mainly intended for reading, the device apparently also allows for annotation, and offers an extension for playing MP3s.

Sales are scheduled to start in early 2006 in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. According to Jan de Waal, Digibieb webmaster, the iRex device was developed by engineers who have also worked on the Sony Librié.

iRex itself is a spinoff of Philips, a key player in the E Ink area.

The iRex was presented to a number of libraries on December 1. So far, the iRex website is amazingly empty for a product so close to its launch. We’ll keep monitoring it for more news.

Related: Hanlin E Ink machine.

Irex E Ink e-book reader
Photo by Jan de Waal

Moderator’s note: Branko Collin, based in Amsterdam, actually sent this in last night, but I’ve changed the time stamp so it’s at the top of the blog right now, given his item’s importance.

Nice going, Branko! Let’s hope that the new machine isn’t as proprietary as the Librie and that the DRM–almost surely present–is gentler on consumers. Ditto for the business model. Sony’s is hell on readers.

I’d also welcome more contrast between text and background than the Librie screen offers. Meanwhile, notice the iRex’s size? The screen appears to be much bigger than the Librie’s. If Irex does things right, this machine could be terrific for newspaper reading and for school textbooks.

David Rothman.


  1. Why do people care if the display is monochrome or colour? Look in your paper library. What % of pages are in colour? I have 5000 pages of O’Reilly books, none of them in colour, most of them highly useful.

    Sure I like colour as well, but I prefer a superior display which I can read in the full sunlight, and batteries that last for more than half a year (!), than a colour (TFT) display and batteries that I have to change daily.

    Just my 2 cents…

  2. I think people care, because an ebook device also must be able to replace the few books that appear in (and have need of) colour. (The next demand will then be that the device be able to display moving images.)

    Still, even a black and white device is going to be very useful if sold at the right price.

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