Pandigital debuts Novel e-book reader with 7-inch color touchscreen; $199.99

Pandigital is outgrowing its digital photo frame niche and entering the e-book reader market with the more budget-appropriate 7-inch Novel e-reader.

Pandigital is outgrowing its digital photo frame niche and entering the e-book reader market with the more budget-appropriate Novel e-reader.

Powered by an ARM 11 mobile processor, the 16-ounce Novel totes a 7-inch color TFT LCD screen with an 800 x 600 resolution. Some of the icons displayed in the interface depicted in the promo photo look a bit Mac-reminiscent, but the UI is actually based on Android OS.

Some of the other noteworthy features include Wi-Fi connectivity, 1GB of on-board memory, SD/MMC card slot (up to 32GB), a mini-USB port and an orientation sensor for toggling the display between portrait and landscape modes. Ready for transfers with both Mac and PCs, supported file types include PDF, ePub and HTML. Expect up to only six hours, however, after a full battery charge. Given that this is Pandigital, there is a digital photo frame function if that strikes your fancy.

Pandigital has also gotten Barnes & Noble involved. That partnership has given way to direct access to the B&N eBookstore from the Pandigital user interface, plus a trial run of the LendMe e-book sharing program.

It's refreshing to see the price tags on color e-book devices start to come down. The Novel starts at $199 with a one-year limited warranty included, and it will hit the shelves on an unspecified date in June.

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