The eReader market is about to get a little more crowded. Hearst Corporation’s Skiff announced plans to launch a new consumer eReading service platform in 2010 that will deliver “enhanced content experiences” to dedicated eReaders, as well as to multipurpose devices such as smartphones and netbooks.
According to a press release, the Skiff service and digital store will feature a selection of newspapers, magazines, books and other content from multiple publishers, which can then be delivered wirelessly to devices and via the Web.
Formerly known as FirstPaper, Skiff will specialize in the delivery and presentation of newspaper and magazine content, as opposed to other platforms that focus primarily on e-books and plain text. Unlike the largely monochromatic eReader experience currently available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Skiff will focus on graphic-heavy layouts like those found in magazines and newspapers.
“Skiff.s goal is to connect publishers and marketers with consumers,” said Gilbert Fuchsberg, president of Skiff, in a statement.
Skiff has partnered with Marvell, a semiconductor company, to help create a “system on a chip” for eReading. The component will enable manufacturers to accelerate the development of high-performance eReading devices.
Beyond a dedicated eReader, Skiff says it is partnering with a variety of device manufacturers to make the service available on everything from smartphones to netbooks.
Skiff reports that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Sprint to provide 3G connectivity for Skiff.s dedicated eReading devices in the United States. Sprint was the original provider for the Kindle, but the carrier recently lost that contract to AT&T. Skiff readers will be available for purchase in Sprint retail locations across the United States, as well as online.
“Sprint has more than 10 years of experience in provisioning non-Sprint-branded devices to operate on its networks,” said Dan Dooley, president of Sprint Wholesale Solutions, in a statement. “This strategic partnership with Skiff is an unprecedented collaborative opportunity bringing together the power of the Sprint 3G network and the expansiveness of Sprint retail distribution with a dynamic new vision of eReaders.”