Barnes & Noble is making an e-reader; Gizmodo published the first pictures today. With similar media-tech fusions out or anticipated from Amazon.com, Apple, Hearst, Time Inc. and others, it's tough to keep track. No worries; here's a list.
We've included only e-readers (and one tablet computer) that are either developed by old media companies or have gone out of their way to partner with them; think of this as a compilation of would-be media saviors dressed up as gadgets.
Maker: Barnes & Noble (the retailer)
Old media tie-ins: Books from Barnes & Noble (the publisher); access to books scanned by Google Books; a B&N e-book store. (More)
Name: Apple Tablet (unofficial)
Caveat: A tablet computer is much more capable than an e-reader, usually offering the resolution, sound and video capabilities of a laptop computer along with a full-color display.
Old media tie-ins: Apple is in content talks with the New York Times, a large magazine group and at least two textbook companies, sources told our colleagues at Gizmodo. (More)
Names:Reader Touch, Reader Pocket
Old media tie-ins: Sony has a great feature that will let you check out e-books from one the oldest distribution mediums out there: your local library. Publishers can't be thrilled with "Library Finder," to say nothing of Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Oh well!
Name: Kindle DX, Kindle 2
Old media tie-ins: e-Books — from fiction to textbooks — sold by Amazon; a variety of newspapers, including the New York Times; a variety of magazines, including Time. Non-participating newspapers, including those owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., have complained about the paltry 30 percent cut of revenues they were offered for sales on the device.
And, bringing up the rear, there are the media companies whose devices are, for now, mostly talk.
Maker: Hearst Corp. and FirstPaper LLC
Old media tie-ins: Would presumably include content from Hearst newspapers like the Chronicle-s in San Francisco and Houston and from magazines like Esquire and Cosmopolitan. There has been talk of a hardware device developed by Hearst and, more recently, of an open software platform developed with FirstPaper.
Maker: Time Inc.
Old media tie-ins: There are conflicting accounts over whether Time Inc. is interested in making this device. Former Valleywag Owen Thomas of NBC Bay Area obtained a June 2009 presentation indicating plans to finish a prototype this year; Peter Kafka's sources at All Things D said the magazine division of Time Warner is interested in creating a virtual store rather than a physical device. Either way, the company is said to be seeking partnerships with other magazine publishers — Condé Nast, Meredith and Hearst, according to the documents reviewed by Thomas.
(UPDATE: Added Sony Reader due to Library Finder feature.)
(Pics via Gizmodo unless otherwise noted)