E-readers becoming feature rich

French device vendor Sagem has unveiled the Binder, which measures 152mm x 123mm x 10.7mm and boasts 3G and wifi connectivity, with support for eBook and MP3 formats, a virtual keyboard, up to 16GB of memory, and battery life equivalent to over 8000 page turns.

The device is available from French retailer FNAC for €199, including a data connection from SFR. Later in November, the Binder will be available through Telecom Italia.

Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble has extended its e-reader offering with the launch of the NookColor. The full colour version of the Nook e-reader runs on Texas Instrument’s OMAP3621 (ARM Cortex-A8 processor-based) applications processor.

Gregg Burke, director of TI’s worldwide ebook business line, said the device represents the first commercial launch of a reading-centric product using TI’s OMAP hardware and Android software architecture announced at CES 2010, using a robust, multitasking environment required to simultaneously run the eReader’s new feature-rich applications, which exercise the CPU, multimedia and graphics engines.

“The TI team helped tune the Android multimedia framework and TI OMX components to improve multimedia performance. This also exposed a new scenario: TI’s hardware accelerated codecs had to quickly support a “call to destroy a video playback instantiation” before “creation was successful”, since a user can flip to a new page without completely watching the embedded video clip,” Burke said.

In related news, mobile software developers now have an open source development tool based on the high performance OMAP 4 platform in the form of PandaBoard. The OMAP 4 platform-based PandaBoard includes an OMAP4430 processor with two ARM Cortex-A9 processors (running at 1GHz each) delivering symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) performance, as well as rich multimedia and 3D graphics support and is aimed at developers designing on various mobile open source software distributions such as Android, Angstrom, Chrome, MeeGo and Ubuntu.

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