We've watched Panasonic's 5.6-inch Words Gear e-book / media player make the jump from early prototype to trade-show circuit. Now, it's gone official. Sure it lacks e-Ink and the associated long battery life, but there's something to be said for the ability to not only read books for 6-hours at a time off the lithium Ion battery, but also view MPEG-4 video and JPEGs on that 5.6-inch, 600x1024 display -- you get AAC audio to boot. Pretty limited codec support frankly, and too bad it only supports SD cards (up to 2GB) what with SDHC now pushing 8GB and 32GB on the horizon. Still, for just ¥41,790 (about $355) when loosed upon Japan on December 20th, you just gotzta take notice.

[Via Impress]

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