Although still unconfirmed in either case, rumors are circulating that Verizon Wireless will release a pair of eReaders in the U.S. this fall, with some speculating that the devices will come from Sharp and others pointing to the small start-up known as enTourage.
“We don’t comment on rumors,” said a Verizon Wireless spokesperson, when TabletPCReview.com asked about any e-reader plans by Verizon.
While it’s impossible to say right now whether either of the e-reader tales are true, it’s easier to guess how they might have started.
Is Entourage the same as enTourage?
In a report posted July 20, Engadget said unnamed sources had indicated that Verizon has two readers known as “Entourage” — measuring 7 and 10 inches, respectively — on its roadmap for September.
The article then went on to ponder whether or not, with “Entourage,” Verizon might be referring to the company named enTourage that shipped the education-oriented, Android OS-enabled eDGe eReader earlier this year.
A Verizon/Sharp deal Is ‘Tipped’
The very same day, at a press conference in Japan, Sharp showed prototypes of two eReaders while announcing plans to produce readers based on format called “next-generation XMDF (eXtending Mobile Document Format).”
Several publications described the prototypes shown by Sharp as 3G-enabled dual-display gadgets with LCD touch screens measuring 5.5 and 10.8 inches respectively.
At the time, the technology site Slashgear wrote that Sharp has “apparently negotiated various deals with publishers in Japan,” and that “a deal with Verizon is tipped.”
Rumors or Real Facts?
Both sorts of reports went on to pick up a lot of momentum, with some bloggers reporting Verizon’s purported plans with either Sharp or enTourage not as rumor but as real facts.
The specs for Verizon’s rumored Entourage e-books don’t seem to mesh with enTourage’s eDGe, although that’s not to say that enTourage couldn’t be planning some other device.
The existing eDGe has a zoom-cable 9.7- as well as a 10.1-inch WXGA resistive touch screen, a swivel, a 3 megapixel camera, and Wi-Fi, for instance.
The Sharp rumors might be less far-fetched. In its press release, Sharp did say it would enter the market with a digital platform and eReaders “within the year.”
Beyond that, this could be called more of a re-entrance than an entrance, since Sharp is no stranger to eReaders, either.
Way back in 2006, the company rolled out the RD-CX100, an “e-book reader and dictionary” outfitted with a 4.3-inch TFT LCD screen, a hard keyboard, and support for playing MP3 music files.