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1/22/2008
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Dutch Firm Merges Cell Phone With E-Reader

The Readius looks like a standard mobile phone, but it unfolds to reveal a full screen larger than the actual device.

Polymer Vision, a Dutch maker of rollable displays, on Tuesday disclosed plans to commercially launch its Readius device -- a foldable e-reader and mobile phone -- sometime in the middle of this year.

Readius merges the functionality of e-readers with features of mobile phones, according to Polymer Vision. The device also comes with an Internet portal for searching and personalizing content. Once users have selected content and services based on their preferences, the portal "pushes" the information to them, the company said.




Polymer Vision's Readius merges the functionality of e-readers with features of mobile phones, and unfolds to reveal a full screen larger than the actual device.
(click for image gallery)

Polymer Vision, which spun out of electronics giant Philips in late 2006, said it's in discussions with providers about filling the portal with different content and service that would be available to Readius users.

Polymer Vision claims that Readius can last for 30 hours on a single battery charge. The device's microSD removable flash memory allows e-books and other information to be stored on it, such as podcasts, audio books, and music. Readius understands the MP3 format, so it can play audio.

In addition to serving as an e-reader, Readius has tri-band HSDPA capability, which means users can make phone calls and access the Internet over third-generation cellular networks based on the technology.

What makes the device unusual is its form factor. On the surface it is the size of a standard mobile phone, but it unfolds to reveal a full screen larger than the actual device. Readius is smart enough to know when it has been flipped upside down and adjusts the screen to display content the right way.

"[People] do not want to be concerned with small screens, not being able to read in sunlight, a dead battery or a device being too bulky to carry in their pocket. Readius solves these worries and is generations ahead of anything else out there today," said Karl McGoldrick, CEO of Polymer Vision, in a statement.

While Readius is expected to launch commercially later this year, Mobile World Congress attendees can get a preview of the device in Barcelona next month. Polymer Vision hasn't disclosed specific markets where Readius will be available or pricing.

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