Hearst Interactive Backing Kindle-Like E-Book Reader Startup FirstPaper
Rafat Ali 04.05.08, 3:52 PM ET

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Hearst Interactive, the digital media investment arm of Hearst Corp., is
incubating a Kindle-like e-book reader, paidContent.org has learned, and
the separate venture is called FirstPaper.

The stealth startup is based in Palo Alto and New York City. It is
developing this device based on Linux and will have some variation of
Mozilla browser or its underlying technology (XUL) in it.

Some hints about the company’s plans are here in the job listings.

Hearst has also invested in E-Ink, the electronic display technology firm,
so there might be some synergies involved. E-Ink supplies its technology
to Sony (nyse: SNE - news - people ) Reader, Sony’s critically acclaimed
e-book reader.

In fact, Lee Shirani, the former head of Sony Reader’s e-book store, is
now working as FirstPaper’s SVP.

A story in Crosscut, a Seattle news site, back in July last year mentioned
that Hearst is planning to test-market a wireless online newspaper within
the next two years, using E-Ink technology.

Unlike Kindle’s small, hardback reader, Hearst planed to employ the
technology on a flexible screen almost as big as a tabloid paper. The
e-paper could be updated by simply touching the screen.

That was quickly denied by Hearst back then, though again, not sure if
FirstPaper is related to this.

Also not sure if Hearst is the only one funding this company, though the
company describes itself as “well-funded”.

E-mails and calls to FirstPaper and Hearst for comment were not returned.

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