E-commerce venture Infibeam has launched the next version of its e-book reader, the Pi2 or the Pi Square. The reader now features Wifi connectivity, and a touch screen, both of which were absent in the first generation Pi. It also adds a web browser for internet surfing on the device. The Wifi connectivity will enable purchase and download of e-books over the device, without the need to connect to a PC to transfer them.The six inch e-ink based Pi2 is priced at Rs 11,999 and is available at Infibeam’s online store.
Infibeam founder and CEO Vishal Mehta did not reveal to MediaNama, the exact number of Pi devices sold till date, but said that the sales figures were in ‘thousands’, since the device’s launch in March 2010. The company offers a collection of over 5 lakh e-books on its web store and has tie-ups with all major publishers, including McGraw Hill, Penguin, Pearson, among others. It also has a tie-up with 2000 independent authors and manages rights for their books. Unlike Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Infibeam has no plans to launch platform specific applications for retailing ebooks; Mehta feels that the browser is the best medium. He also said that more than 90 percent of Pi owners purchased books from Infibeam’s store and the repeat visits were very encouraging.
Mehta said that the company avoided including a 3G modem (Amazon Kindle has a 3G version) as “users in India do not like to subscribe to multiple data plans; Wifi connectivity will be used to deliver content wirelessly from the internet store, and allow delivering of periodical publications like newspapers and magazines to the device. The company has also started selling the device at physical book stores including Reliance Time Out, as Indian customers like to experience the touch and feel of the device.