imageAstak‘s rumored $150-so-so E Ink reader with a five-inch screen was unveiled at the IDPF conference today. It’s to go on sale next month in the States, with other models following in the next few months. [Update: Here.]

The actual price has not been set, according to Astak biz dev official Bob Barry, whom I interviewed a moment ago. I caught him via his mobile phone, in the thick of the excitement at the conference, so he could not pass on all the details. According to Bob, the final prices will be determined by the features included—something still under consideration, based on the most common user requests.

Related: post and Astak site with details on the five-, six- and 9.7-inch models, plus a MobileRead thread. A touch screen is among the options.

Supported formats: TXT, PDF, RTF, HTML/CHM. May an FBReader ports appear for the Astaks, so people can at least enjoy nonDRMed Mobipocket, as well as ePub, the standard of the future! And who knows? I wonder if old editions of Mobipocket’s own software might run on the six-inch and ten-inch Astaks (WIN CE5.0), even now. Unlikely but you never know. The five-incher runs Linux (QT environment). Any FBReader possibilities for that one even now?

(Thanks, Michael.)

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  1. I notice it’s supposed to have a touch screen you can use with a stylus. Any word on whether you’ll be able to markup documents? Any word on whether it will have some sort of handwriting recognition that would allow, for instance, search capability?

  2. Wow, great stuff. I’m gonna be tracking this closely; hope you plan to keep the info-pipeline full, David!

    At these price points and feature lists (via Mobileread) I’d buy one site unseen, review unread.

  3. I doubt it.

    If Apple does its iPod Air next month, this is DOA.

    As it is, once the apps start flowing for the iPhone and iPod Touch, everyone will have more e-reader software choices than they ever imagined.

    Either way, this is already d.e.a.d.

  4. But, Mike, as we’ve already established, many people LOVE E Ink, even today’s less than perfect variety. Steve Jobs almost surely HATES it. Here’s to variety! Thanks. David

  5. Mike, the question is how much diversity the market will support, but my experience is that everyone is looking for something different, and choice is better. I want readability, reliability, and battery life in a paperback-sized form. I don’t want battery-hungry color, graphics, audio or wireless.

    And those $199 subsidized iphones? They usually require a $30 data plan. That means that if I want to share books among my 4 family members, I’d need to shell out an extra $120 per month to get a subsidized iphones.

    So I’m just happy to see more choice in the market. The real issue this points up is the major problem with DRM. Let’s say I decide to replace my Cybook Apple WonderReader Vacuum (its lighter than Air). Will I be able to read the books from my Cybook on the new gizmo?

  6. Mike Cane writes:

    > Enjoy the eInk while you can. It’s over.

    We hear you, Mike. We’ve all read your article and seen your restatement of its thesis above. You can drop it now. Sheesh.

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