India’s Infibeam has come up with a touch screen and WiFi enabled eReader with Vizplus eInk display. Called as Pi 2 and read as Pi square, Infibeam Pi2 has a 6-inch resistive touch screen. Pi2 costs Rs. 11999 and is available for pre-order from Infibeam. The orders will ship at the end of February. The original price of Pi2 is Rs. 14999.
This is the second and an improved version of eReader from Infibeam. Infibeam is one of the two Indian vendors who has released an eReader, Wink being the other one. Pi2 is a significant improvement from its earlier version Pi. Pi2 packs in more memory, a touch screen and WiFi which are not available on Pi. There are other minor improvements in terms of hardware design on Pi 2.
Pi 2 is 11 mm thick and weighs 235 gms. Touch screen is 6-inch wide on the diagonals and has a 600×800 resolution. 8-level gray scale with no backlit display, provides a crisp reading experience, suitable for longer reading times. The text can be read in four different font sizes. Pi2 has a extensive Indian language support in addition to English, Sanskrit and Hindi. Pi2 can be used to listen music and play games like Sudoku. Infibeam promises to bring more games.
Pi2 has a Freescale iMX 35 serials processor, 128 MB RAM and 2 GB internal memory. Linux 2.6.28 is the operating system. The memory can be expanded to 32 GB through a microSD card. Pi2 has WiFi, sans Bluetooth. It takes 4 hours to charge and 8000 pages can be read on a single charge. Pi2 comes with a 1 year Infibeam warranty.
Books can be downloaded to Pi2 through a WiFi connection by connecting to Infibeam digital bookstore. This is where I have to wonder. How big is Infibeam’s collection? I am sure it is not competing with Amazon, but what’s Infibeam’s selling point here? If it has a vast collection of Indian books in digital version which aren’t available on Amazon store then it is worth buying. If not, can we access Amazon Kindle store? If we can access Amazon Kindle store, then Pi2 would be worth looking at. That covers the content part.
Coming to the cost and the overall product, we have to do the inevitable. Compare it against the best products available in the market.
Kindle vs Pi2
Latest Amazon Kindle is obviously the right choice. Latest Kindle with WiFi costs about $139 and can be ordered from India. That comes to Rs. 6300. I haven’t gone through the full buying cycle but Kindle should end up at a cost of Rs. 7000 if we add taxes and shipping if they are applicable. Kindle is the most popular and most selling eReader because of its eInk and wide variety of digital book collection. Pi2 scores over Kindle in just the resistive touch screen. That would be nullified if we bring in the book collection. Unless someone tries to install BN store app and Kindle store app on Pi2.
Pi2 vs Nook Color
Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color costs Rs. 11400 with absolute currency conversion. It could actually cost more in India. Nook has a color touch screen and runs Android. Kindle app can be installed and Amazon store can be accessed. That gives Nook two different book stores. Nothing can beat that selection. With a color display, Nook Color can be used as a magazine reader too. Pi2 compares well on the pricing part but nothing else. Is it fair to compare Pi2 with Nook? I am not sure. All I know is you will be spending some significant money and you have the right to know if that money is well spent.
Pi2 falls some where between Kindle and Nook Color in pricing. In terms of features, content and flexibility, it falls way behind.