We've been hearing and seeing evidence of Asus' move into the ever more popular eBook reader market for a while now but it's only today that we got a chance to see some hard evidence. We have obtained pictures of the officially upcoming Asus DR-950, a 9in touchscreen touting, grey-scale e-ink device.
As well as sporting one of the largest screens we've seen for a conventional eBook reader, the DR-950's display (that supports 16 levels of grey) also has an impressive resolution of 1,024 x 768. Thanks to its touch-sensitivity it will also have an on-screen keyboard and be able to recognise handwriting, though a text-to-speech function with support for 26 languages will probably be the more oft used feature. You also get a web browser, dictionary, and RSS reader while Audible, MP3, PDF, TXT, and unprotected ePub files are supported.
In terms of hardware you get Wi-Fi and 3G so you'll potentially be able to get the latest content wherever you are. You also get both a 3.5mm headphone jack and stereo speakers as well as 4GB of internal memory and an SD card slot. As for dimensions, 222 x 161 x 9mm makes this slightly larger than the likes of the Sony PRS-600 and Amazon Kindle but considering the amount of extra screen area you're getting, you'll get no complaints from us.
Asus has not yet confirmed pricing or availability, nor indeed information on what media partners might be involved in distributing over-the-air content, but we've heard hints of £250 and sometime in April for the former and are assured that there are some with regards the latter. Could this really start to push the eBook reader forward into the mainstream? Well at that price, probably not quite yet but it's definitely a step in the right direction.