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E-Readers Get Clearer Screens, More Content

Stocks in this article: AMZN SNE AAPL

People might use their computers and phones to browse e-mail and articles, but they still prefer to read a 200-page novel on paper. That may soon change, thanks to technology that could cause demand for digital readers to explode.

Massachusetts-based E Ink has developed a way to display text without the glare or flickering that usually occurs on screens. The company's "electronic ink" consists of minute capsules suspended in clear fluid that respond to electricity to produce images. The material allows people to read screens from any angle and under any light.

Companies such as Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report) and Sony (SNE - Get Report) are using the technology in digital readers, or e-readers, which are portable handheld devices that can download and store books, magazines and blog posts. The readers only use battery power to turn and refresh pages, so you never have to turn off the device.

Amazon recently upgraded its Kindle reader.

Here are three of the newest digital readers that use E Ink's material. Some can also play music, display images and download documents in a variety of formats.

Kindle II - $359: Amazon's upgraded digital reader comes with free access to Sprint's (S) network, so users can download books directly to the device without using a computer. The Kindle II can store up to 1,500 books, and a two-hour charge is enough to power 8,000 page turns.

Additional perks include a dictionary that displays the definitions of selected words and a text-to-speech function, which reads content aloud from many of the 245,000 titles Amazon sells for $10.99 each.

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