I have been saying for a few months now that the most interesting ereader launches were coming out of Europe and this latest device is no exception. The Finnish startup Leia Media is going to be testing their first ereader next month, and they have high hopes that it will become the basis for a new subscription based content platform.
Details are still thin on the Leia Reader, but I can tell you that it is built around a 9.7″ color E-ink screen. The prototype will have wireless connectivity and is reportedly going to be solar-powered. Leia is claiming that the usage time will be infinite because this ereader will charge off of the ambient light in a house.
Or at least that is what Leia hopes will happen during the upcoming pilot. Starting next month the Leia Reader will be distributed to several hundred users. During the pilot these testers will be getting the morning and evening editions of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, and if the pilot is successful Leia plans to expand availability both in Finland and around the world.
The Leia Reader is supported by a consortium of 5 Finnish companies, each of which are contributing a different part of the platform. In addition to Leia Media, Sanoma News, Bluegiga, Anygraaf, and DNA are assisting in the pilot. Based on their websites, I would guess that BlueGiga provided technical expertise for the wireless connectivity, and Anygraaf probably built part or all of the back end.