The software developer D-Arc Inc. has announced that the free version of its Weekly Astro Boy Magazine application is available for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch mobile devices in the United States this week. The free version includes one volume, or about 100 pages, from manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka in English. The first volume features Astro Boy, Phoenix, Black Jack, and other titles. D-Arc will release a complete version of the application “soon,” and that version will offer additional weekly volumes of manga for US$0.99 each.
A similar Weekly Tezuka Osamu Magazine from another company, Yappa, launched with 100-page weekly installments on Japanese iPhones in April. Digital Manga Publishing has been offering digital manga in English on its emanga.com website since last year.
The Papyless ebook service and the CDJapan online retailer began offering online “rentals” of Japanese-only ebooks by Tezuka and other manga creators on their new Renta! website last month. Sony revealed on Wednesday that its previously announced manga service for Japanese PlayStation Portable (PSP) consoles will launch on December 10.