This week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, e-reading company Skiff is previewing its new electronic reader. At a quarter of an inch thick, the Skiff Reader is the thinnest device of its kind. Not everything about it is small, however; its 1200 x 1600 pixel, 11.5-inch screen is the largest and highest-resolution consumer e-reading display yet. Perhaps its biggest boast, however, is what that display is made of – Instead of rigid, fragile glass, the Skiff Reader’s display utilizes a thin, flexible sheet of stainless-steel foil. Developed by LG specifically for Skiff, the touchscreen foil-display promises an e-reader that will be much more durable than anything currently available.
In the US, connectivity will be provided through Sprint’s 3G wireless network, although the Skiff Reader will also work with WiFi. Users will be able to purchase periodicals, books and other reading materials from the online Skiff Store. Given that Skiff is owned by Hearst Corporation, a media giant in the truest sense of the word, there should be a lot to choose from.
Skiff has optimized its e-reader for newspapers and magazines, and has been working on ways of supporting the key design qualities of the publications it carries; things like layout, graphics and typography will retain their unique look on its screen, allowing the “personality” of the publication to show through. That, in turn, will hopefully attract advertisers and subscribers. By combining innovative technology with connectivity and advertising opportunities, Skiff is creating an ecosystem that is essential to the survival of its product. “Skiff’s goal is to connect publishers and marketers with consumers,” says Skiff president Gilbert Fuchsberg. "We will accomplish this by delivering engaging reading experiences that consumers will value, and a business model that respects publishers’ needs.”
The Skiff Reader should be available online, and through US Sprint dealers, later this year. There’s still no word on price. Even if you don’t buy the reader, Skiff is working on making its digital store and client software accessible to a variety of other devices, including smartphones.