Asus announced the arrival of its long awaited Eee Reader DR900 earlier this week, marking the industry's first 9-inch, touchscreen e-book reader. Taking a jab at Amazon's Kindle and other similarly sized devices, the company says its new e-reader offers 2.25 times the reading area of those with a 6-inch display.

Of course, that also makes it less portable, but it's still pretty dang trim at 0.38 inches thick, which is on par with the 9.7-inch Kindle DX and only a bit larger than the 6-inch Kindle 2's 0.33-inch frame. It weighs about 15.5 ounces, which is over 3 ounces lighter than the Kindle DX and 7 ounces heavier than the Kindle 2.

Asus says the DR900's anti-reflective SiPix e-paper display renders text as crisp as ink on paper and its 1024x768 resolution should offer plenty of space to view documents. Supported formats include FB2, ePub, TXT, HTML, and PDF. It can also handle JPG, PNG, GIF, and BMP images as well as CBZ and ZIP compression formats.

The e-reader ships with 2GB of internal storage, which is expandable via a microSD card slot. You can expect a battery life of up to four days with Wi-Fi enabled or two weeks when disabled, but Asus doesn't mention how 3G affects the runtime. WWAN is optional, so that's not a concern if you intend to buy a Wi-Fi-only model.

Since it has a touchscreen, Asus says its e-reader can be used take handwritten notes and draw sketches. It also features text-to-speech in 23 languages, in case you prefer audio books. The DR900 is expected to hit shelves in Europe very soon for €319, and it'll spread to other markets sometime before Christmas.