More Competition for Amazon’s Kindle: Barnes & Noble Partners with Irex

More Competition for Amazon’s Kindle: Barnes & Noble Partners with Irex

Written by Frederic Lardinois / August 24, 2009 9:14 AM / 3 Comments

irex_readers_logo_aug09.jpgAll the major eBook vendors are currently trying to expand their eBook and eReader line-ups as fast as possible in order to compete with Amazon. Today, Barnes & Noble announced that it has partnered with Irex Technologies, a Dutch eReader manufacturer. B&N will sell Irex’s new consumer-focused device in its stores and online later this year. B&N already signed a deal with Plastic Logic earlier this year. Irex already offers a number of different eReaders in its store, but this device looks to be specifically designed to take on the Kindle. It will feature an 8.1-inch touchscreen with stylus navigation and a 3G wireless connection.

We featured a longer discussion about Irex’s plans in an interview with the company’s CEO Hans Brons earlier this year. During this interview, Brons stressed that Irex was focused on the business market but was also planning to expand into the consumer market if the right partners came around. With B&N, Irex now has a major partner to expand in the US market.

In the press release about this partnership, B&N’s president William J. Lynch and Irex’s North American CEO Kevin Hamilton both stressed that the two companies “share a distinctive, open view of the eReader market.”

3G Connectivity

Given that the Irex reader will feature a 3G wireless connection, B&N looks to be in a very good position to compete with the Kindle. While we confirmed with Irex that the new eReader that B&N will use will indeed have 3G wireless connectivity, neither Irex nor B&N were ready to confirm which wireless carrier in the US will power the wireless connectivity.

Currently, the ability to download and sync books wirelessly is one of the Kindle’s real advantages over other readers. The mock-ups of the new Irex reader look very good, and B&N currently offers a wider variety of eBooks than Amazon at similar price points. Sony also just announced its new line-up of readers for the holidays and the company is set to announce yet another new product later this week (possibly a reader with wireless connectivity as well).

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  1. We havent had the opportunity to really spend much time checking out eReaders but they do look handy and maybe something we will be picking up for Christmas. Two more models of Sony E-Reader coming up, one of them costs $199 but excuse them for not having WiFi http://www.trigeia.com/article.php?id=3653

    Posted by: Trigeia Author Profile Page

    | August 24, 2009 11:21 AM

  • I still love my Kindle – I think it is great. They will have to make some incredible changes for me to even consider at move. Amazon tech support has always been great and I only had to use them when I switched from the first Kindle to the next generation. Awesome product.

    Posted by: George Naspo | August 25, 2009 7:20 AM

  • “B&N currently offers a wider variety of eBooks than Amazon at similar price points”

    While I guess I wouldn’t quite categorize this as an outright myth, it’s not really true — for either B&N or Sony. If you simply go down the New York Times best-seller list, you’ll discover that Amazon’s Kindle store still has a sizable lead in available titles. And the price comparison is even more tilted towards Amazon, especially on back list type stuff.

    Sony and Barnes & Noble are both pumping up their book count with the zillions of free out-of-copyright works. Fine as far as it goes but the most popular several tens of thousands are available on Kindle and much of the rest is really, really niche stuff. The 1915 annual report of the Massachusetts Water Authority freshly scanned from the bowels of Widener Library at Harvard, anybody?

    Posted by: Aaron Pressman | August 25, 2009 6:00 PM

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    About rayrr

    10 years as a NetWork Administrator in the Virginia Beach, Virginia Area. 11 years in the San Diego, California area. Went back to Manila Philippines to relax and rest away from the rat race. View all posts by rayrr

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