Digital photo frame manufacturer Pandigital has announced its entry into the world of the e-reader with the 7-inch full color Novel. The multi-touch Android-based reader features a gigabyte of internal memory, is powered by an ARM Mobile processor and has two reading modes. Users will also benefit from the company's partnership with Barnes & Noble, giving access to over a million titles as well as services such as the book-lending LendMe technology.

For its first dip into the e-reader market, Pandigital has managed to score a partnership deal with Barnes & Noble to allow users access to the B&N eBookstore and associated services. As well as over half a million free-to-download classics, the eBook service allows users to browse, buy and download magazine, newspaper and book titles over a WiFi connection in seconds.

The 7-inch 800 x 600 color multimedia LCD touchscreen Novel features an edge-to-edge glass screen, an orientation sensor for automatic portrait and landscape adjustment, an SD/MMC card slot to expand on the 1GB of internal memory and mini-USB 2.0 port for direct connection to a computer or laptop. It's powered by an 800MHz ARM 11 Mobile processor running an Android 2 based operating system.

As well as 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity, the device also benefits from an onboard dictionary, adjustable font size, multiple bookmarks, a web browser and email application, multimedia players, alarm clock, calendar and, naturally, can be used as a photo viewer too. The 5.5 x 7.5 x .5 inch, 16 ounce reader supports most of the common formats including ePub, PDF, HTML, MP3, AAC, JPEG, PNG and MPEG4 video. Battery life is said to be around six hours.

Having a color LCD screen is perhaps more a direct response to the iPad than to the Kindle and Nook, which benefit from the crisper type and better contrast of an e-Ink display. The Novel's night reading mode could offer some relief for tired eyes though, inverting text and background colors for more discreet viewing.

The Novel will be available in early June for US$199.99, which includes a display stand, USB cable and power adapter.