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Verizon To Carry iRex E-book Reader

The wireless carrier joins Sprint Nextel and AT&T in using its mobile data network to enable e-book readers.

Verizon's iRex DR800SG E-book Reader
(click image for larger view)
Verizon's iRex DR800SG E-book Reader
Verizon Wireless is the latest carrier to use its mobile data network to support an electronic book reader, as the company's 3G network will power iRex's new e-book reader. The DR800SG is touchscreen e-reader that features an 8.1-inch display. The device will support multiple types of standards including the ePub format and various digital rights management products, and it comes with 2 GB of internal storage that can be expanded with a memory card. It will go on sale this fall for about $400.

The Verizon component will enable users to browse Barnes & Noble's e-book store to purchase and download new content on-the-go. The costs of the wireless broadband will be baked into the price of the device, and users will have unlimited mobile data access over the life of the e-book reader.

The DR800SG will have a Qualcomm Gobi chip for mobile broadband access, which means users will be able to access various 3G networks around the world. By contrast, the competing Amazon Kindle can only use Sprint Nextel's EV-DO data network to download new e-books. The e-reader will go on sale in October, and will be available online and at select Best Buy locations.

Verizon is not the only carrier looking to use its mobile data for devices other than phones. Sprint's data is used for the Kindle's WhisperNet service. AT&T is also providing the data connectivity for Sony's latest e-reader, as well as the upcoming e-book reader from Plastic Logic.

As traditional voice revenues decline, carriers around the world are looking to connect various consumer electronic devices such as netbooks, laptops, GPS navigators, and portable gaming systems in order to create new revenue streams.

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