Foxit Software's Pocket-sized E-book Reader Due Soon

Foxit Software will soon release a new version of its eSlick e-book reader, which has been redesigned to better fit into a pocket.

The eSlick PS, which stands for "Pocket Size," will be released in about seven weeks, said Alex Alexander Foxit corporate marketing manager.

The most significant change to the eSlick PS versus the original eSlick Reader is that the device is bit wider and not as tall but the screen is still six inches measured diagonally from top to bottom.

Foxit found that people did not want a smaller screen but did want something that was easier to put in a pocket, Alexander said. The original eSlick Reader is 7.4 inches in height. The new eSlick will also support eight languages rather than four as the original eSlick did, Alexander said.

Foxit also changed the back cover, which now closely resembles the semi-curved plastic on the back of the iPhone. The eSlick PS will come in white and black and will cost about the same as the original one, US$259.99. Alexander said he expects the price will drop over time to between $250 and $230, but Foxit's eventual goal is to release one that's under $200.

The latest eSlick does not have 3G or WiFi yet, although Foxit has considered adding connectivity, Alexander said. Ideally, Foxit would like to partner with a content provider that would subsidize the cost of a 3G SIM card, for example, and charge people per book.

Last December, Foxit launched www.eslickbooks.com, which has about 60,000 e-books for sale, in partnership with Fictionwise, which is part of bookseller Barnes & Noble. ESlick users can also download books from Barnes & Noble, which has about one million titles.

The eSlick can use the eReader, ePub, ".txt," HTML and PDF formats plus a variety of image formats. Foxit also includes a copy of its PDF (portable document format) Creator program with the eSlick so people can covert other documents to PDF to read on the device.

The eSlicks are the only hardware products from Foxit, which specializes in developing PDF software that performs faster and is cheaper than equivalent products from Adobe.

Foxit sold 11,730 units of the original eSlick Reader to consumers and through vertical market sales from April through December 2009 and would like to move more units of the eSlick PS.

The company's real hope, however, is to license its high-performance PDF engine to other e-book manufacturers such as Sony or Amazon, Alexander said.

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