ASUS planning world's cheapest dual touchscreen Eee Reader

Back in March ASUS had shown us a glimpse of their dual panel touchscreen concept at CeBIT. Since then we had all forgotten about this little beast from the company. Just over a week ago, a rumor came up that ASUS may just push out an Eee-book reader this year. Jerry Shen, the company's president, said that it may not be only one device that they launch and said that the company plans to unveil the device before the end of the year, all this according to Times Online.

The company aims to launch two versions, a budget version and a premium version in the UK. The more expensive version is expected to be the prototype that had been made by the firms research and development team earlier this year. The Asus device is hinged on a spine and unlike other readers, reads like a printed book. Its other difference is that it will be a two-screen design and will be a touchscreen. This will allow traditionalists to read books the way they are meant to be read. The second screen can also be used for web browsing or to make notes on the text using a virtual keyboard.

The budget version is expected to retail for about $150 or £100, said the source. The low end model is based on the affordability of its Eee PCs. The makers have said that the Eee Reader could feature "speakers", a webcam and a mic for Skype. This would allow for cheap phone calls over the internet. This will lead the device into the laptop territory somewhat. The premium version could include inbuilt 3G , a web browser and expandable storage

Nothing official is known about the price or features but from the prototype shown in March it is pretty evident that Asus is going to set a precedent in the e-book market. Now with the Eee Reader being added to the list, Asus might be able to bite sharply into Amazon's and Sony's share in the e-book reader market.

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