Sony Introduces Pocket and Touch E-Book Readers, Plus Reduced E-Book Prices
Sony has introduced two new e-book
readers, a $199 Reader Pocket Edition and a Reader Touch Edition for $299.
The former is made for slipping into exactly that-pockets, purses and other small spaces-and features a 5-inch screen with Sony's E Ink Vizplex technology, which makes the display mimic the look of ink on paper and is easier on the eyes than a traditional screen.
It's said to be easy to navigate with one hand, can store up to 350 standard e-books and provides approximately two weeks of reading on a single charge. The device measures 6.2 by 4.2 by 0.2 inches; comes in blue, rose and silver; and weighs just 7.7 ounces.
"Whereas 'War and Peace' [were you to lug it around] weighs a few pounds," Lolita Reyes, Sony's product marketing manager, told eWEEK.
Would you really read "War and Peace" on the Pocket Edition?
"Absolutely," answered Reyes.
The Reader Touch Edition, however, may be the better fit for Tolstoy. It features a 6-inch, menu-driven touch-screen that users can navigate with a finger or the included stylus. It also comes in handy for writing notes in a book's margins, as it were, or for underlining passages, both of which can be exported and printed out for reference.
The Touch Edition comes with an edition of the Oxford American English Dictionary-should a reader need the definition of "serf," he can simply tap the word on the screen-as well as an expansion slot for Memory Stick Pro Duo and SD Cards and Sony eBook Library software 3.0, which now supports Macs as well as PCs.
The Touch Edition is available in red, black and silver, weighs 10.1 ounces and measures 6.9 by 4.8 by 0.4 inches. Like the Pocket Edition, it will be available at the end of August from SonyStyle stores; at SonyStyle.com; and at Best Buy, Borders, Costco, Staples, Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers.
Additionally, Sony has lowered the prices of its best-sellers and new releases from $11.99 to $9.99, as of Aug. 5. If paying for a device makes you less inclined to pay for a book, however, Sony's eBook Store also offers access to the million-plus free public-domain books that Google has scanned and digitized over the years.
Sony Readers are also compatible with many libraries' digital collections, Reyes explained, and so from their public library users can download a book, "which then expires from the device in about three weeks."
Reyes emphasized that "Sony now offered the lowest-priced dedicated eBook reader in the marketplace," in addition to offering reduced-priced and free content.
"And in this economy," she concluded, "getting content for free is a very cool thing."
On July 9, Amazon dropped the price of its Kindle 2 e-reader from $359 to $299, and on July 23, Plastic Logic announced that in early 2010 it will be releasing an e-book reader with a screen larger than the 9.7-inch one on the $489 Kindle DX.
Analysts are also suggesting that the tablet Apple is said to be working on, which reportedly could be available by the end of this year, might position Apple to begin selling e-books in iTunes.