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The coming ebook reader flood

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Screen shot from YouTube

(Read caption) The Microsoft Courier leads the way in the coming onslaught of ebook readers.

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"Kindle" indeed.

Amazon's popular Kindle ebook reader has sparked some fiery competition. Several companies recently announced plans to produce their own ereader-like device, and signs point to more on the horizon.

Chief among the new rivals is an interesting alliance between Best Buy and Verizon, both giants in their respective fields. Today, iRex Technologies, the guys behind a blockbuster ebook reader in Europe, said it would cross the pond with a $400 touch-screen device. The new iRex DR800SG will go on sale in Best Buys across the country and feature downloadable digital books over Verizon's network. It should hit Best Buy's shelves next month, "along with the Sony Reader and similar products," reports the NYTimes.

This news came a day after Gizmodo revealed the stunning Microsoft Courier. The company's pitch video shows a device straight out of science fiction – dual touch screens that face each other like pages of a book. Reportedly led by J Allard, the Microsoft frontman for Xbox and Zune, the Courier team seems to focus on stylus-based handwriting and a scrapbook-like feature for collecting Web snippets.

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