Updates to this story
Acer unveiled its LumiRead e-reader at a press conference today in Beijing, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The LumiRead device has a 6-inch screen and 2GB of flash memory, which will allow users to store up to 1,500 e-books.
A tentative release date of July or August has been set and Acer is planning to ship to the US, China, and Germany first. It is currently negotiating with e-book providers in other countries to expand its distribution. Pricing has yet to be announced.
Acer has grouped up with Barnes & Noble in the US, Libri.de in Germany, and Founder in China to provide e-books for the LumiRead. Barnes & Noble will offer over a million titles, while Libri.de will offer a whopping four million. Founder will provide e-books in Chinese. The deal with Founder even goes beyond just providing e-books, as Founder already makes e-readers for the Chinese market, so the two companies may work more closely on bringing the LumiRead there.
Acer also showcased an unnamed tablet PC prototype which will feature a 7-inch screen and run the Android operating system, which it plans to release in September or October. More details on it will be revealed at Computex next week, which TechEye will be reporting from.
It's not clear how successful these launches will be, but Acer has been trying to diversify its product line away from its dominant revenue stream of personal computers. 87 percent of its 2010 first quarter revenue of $4.9 billion came from selling PCs, but it's hoping to expand more into the smartphone, e-reader, and tablet markets. It is expecting that 10 to 15 percent of its revenue may come from the new devices by 2012.
Acer's gizmo can scan in barcodes from real books and find the e-book online, if there is such a beast.
Acer was not the only company with an e-reader announcement today. Sony revealed that it will be launching its own e-reader in Japan by the end of the year. The Japanese company has inked deals with KDDI, Toppan Printing, and the newspaper Asahi Shimbun, hoping this will aid the local launch of its e-reader.
The Sony Reader won't be the exact same model as the one currently available in the US, but Sony has said it will be relatively similar. It plans to release it in Australia, Italy, Spain, and China by the end of the year.