France Telecom’s Read & Go trial service bundles e-reader hardware with a subscription to mobile content. From BusinessWeek:
The trial of the prototype will wrap up this month, and by 2009, France Telecom aims to start distributing the Read & Go in conjunction with a subscription-based news service of the same name. For a monthly charge similar to a mobile service plan, customers will receive an over-the-air stream of aggregated content from a wide assortment of information sources. Alongside the articles will be ads that help defray the cost of the service.
Read & Go is being positioned as a “mobile newspaper kiosk.” Amazon’s Kindle offers similar access to newspapers, magazines and blogs, but subscription fees are charged on a title-by-title basis. The Kindle is not currently sold internationally and Read & Go will only be available in France, so direct competition between the devices/services won’t occur in the near term.
Earlier this year, Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad partnered with iRex Technologies to sell digital newspaper subscriptions bundled with iRex’s iLiad e-reader (pdf). iRex also manufactures the Read & Go device.