When the Pocketbook Aqua leaked last month, I was less than sure that the technical details were accurate or complete. Now that we have the official press release I can confirm that this ereader has a low-resolution E-ink screen, 4GB of storage, Wifi, a touchscreen, but no frontlight or microSD card slot.
It’s also lacking any type of page turn buttons, which were probably dropped from the design in order to simplify the design and make it easier to waterproof it. This is also why there’s no microSD card slot.
The Aqua is also known as the Pocketbook 640, and it runs Pocketbook’s software on a 1GHz CPU with 256MB RAM. It’s going to ship with a broad selection of dictionaries, including quite a few translation dictionaries for Russian, Ukrainian, and European languages. And like Pocketbook’s other ebook readers, the Aqua will offer support for a number of ebook formats, including Epub and PDF.
The Aqua has already been announced for the Russian market, where it will cost 6990 rubles, and for the German market, where it will cost 109 euros. The latter price converts to $149 USD, which is not terribly unreasonable for the market.
Just to give you a comparison, I can get a Kindle Paperwhite that was waterproofed by WaterFi for $219. This firm offers an after market service which waterproof mobile electronics, and they’ve been selling the KPW since May 2013.
WaterFi guarantees their work to a depth of 200 feet, which is a far higher standard than what Pocketbook promises for the Aqua. That ereader is only certified for the IP57 standard, meaning that it can be submerged in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
P.S. On a related note, it looks like there is a good chance that the Earl back-country tablet will indeed make its way into user’s hands; according to the latest updates its development is progressing, albeit slowly. This device has a ruggedized shell and a flexible 6″ E-ink screen, making it a much better choice for anyone who plans to use it in unsafe situations. Of course, it is also up for pre-order for $300, but you get what you pay for.