Seiko/Franklin DB-J990 designed for e-readers

Siidbj990We’ve seen other devices sporting this Sony Vaio UX look before, but SII (Seiko Instruments Inc.) and Franklin’s new DB-J990 super dictionary is the hands-down winner in the copycat contest.

I’m actually in the midst of growing a soft spot for these hybrid e-dictionary/PDA/PMP gadgets, mostly because I just bought the iriver D26, so I’m becoming moderately interested in how manufacturers try to further the devices’ appeal (beyond knocking off designs, of course). I don’t think wide interest will ever be generated outside of Asia, but the DB-J990 could potentially find a new audience in avid readers of e-books. A lot of convergence gadgets offer e-book (usually just .txt files) viewing, but not to this extent: the DB-J900’s built-in Mobipocket reader supports highlight, bookmark, comment, and jump functions. There’s also something (in Japanese) about downloading from an e-bookstore, but I can’t tell for sure whether a PC is required. I assume it is, as there’s no mention of integrated wi-fi, but I see the words "network electronic dictionary" a couple of times. A CD-ROM containing 50 classic literature titles is included with the device, so that could very well be what the "downloading" refers to.

The DB-J990 is also equipped with a 480 x 320 high-contrast display, calculator, games, SD/MMC card slot (up to 2GB), and what appears to be 50MB of user-accessible memory. A couple of sites are reporting MP3 support, and while that’s quickly becoming a standard feature on e-dictionaries, there’s no mention of it in the press release. In any case, the DB-J990 should be available in Japan next month for about $300. SII is hoping to sell 1,000 units per month; I don’t know enough about e-dictionary sales to put that number into any kind of context, but it sounds like a reasonable goal to me.

[Press release via SlashGear]
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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