Whenever I see an announcement for yet another eReader, I immediately wonder if there's enough space for more players. I think the key to standing out in this crowded space is featureset and name recognition. On paper, the Pandigital Novel seems to have both.
The Pandigital Novel is made by the same people who have been offering up digital photo frames for years. It features a 7-inch color 800x600 touch screen, Wi-Fi, multimedia capabilities, 1GB of memory, an SD card slot, and integration with Barnes & Noble's eBookstore. The integration piece is why I'm calling it out as a potential Nook killer, not to mention that it sports a nice color touch screen. If you want to do something more than reading (the Novel supports PDF, ePUB, and HTML), it features a web browser and a media player for enjoying your music, photos or videos.
So, does the Pandigital have the specs to take on the big guys? Let's take a look. From what I've gathered, it's running Android on an ARM 11 Mobile processor. The only downside is that it seems to only be rated for six hours of reading mode. If you start playing some videos I'm guessing that reading mode goes way down.
The Pandigital Novel will be available at a number of retailers beginning next month, including Kohl's, Macy's, and Costco.
I think that the Pandigital Novel has a shot. This one comes with Wi-Fi but there are reports that an EDGE version is coming soon. The fact that it's selling for $199 in a number of retailers is really the hook, though. I've recently been asked by a bunch of people who don't know much about tech whether or not they should purchase an eReader. You can bet that those same people will be picking up the Pandigital soon enough.
Also, the Pandigital Novel looks like a poor man's iPad, though $199 isn't so poor. ;-)