Germany's Telekom is developing a Kindle competitor

Read&Go, an e-paper from France Telecom

One of Europe’s biggest telecommunications companies, Deutsche Telekom, is developing a portable e-reader, apparently a competitor for Amazon’s Kindle. There are no pictures of the new device available at this point.

The German powerhouse plans a test run with a few dozen prototypes in Berlin this fall. The project is code-named “News4me” and is carried by Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, one of the company’s R&D arms. Peter Möckel, head of Deutsche Telekom’s R&D department, says his company sees a market in the gap between mobile phones and laptops.

However, Deutsche Telekom will neither manufacture the devices themselves nor will they be offering any kind of contents. In contrast to Amazon’s customers, Germans will just get to download personalized content from print media onto their readers (this means no RSS, no online news etc.).

The researchers apparently aim at maintaining the “form” of articles in printed media [GER]. One of the engineers involved in the project is quoted as saying that the Kindle generally points in the right direction but Deutsche Telekom will end up developing a device with a larger (and possibly bendable) display. It’s also supposed to be easier to operate.

Prices for the device and fees for content are unclear as of now but the company is already hinting at the possibilities of targeted ads.

France Telecom’s Orange is currently working on a similar product called “Read&Go” [FR]. The Kindle is currently neither available in France nor in Germany.

Via Der Spiegel [GER]