Sony Takes Aim At Amazon's Kindle

Watch out Amazon, Sony's got the Kindle in its sights.

Sony today announced two new Readers - the Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition - that will come out at the end of the month and cost less or the same as the older, more established Kindle.


The Pocket Edition has a five-inch display, comes in several colors ("including navy blue, rose and silver") and fits, as one might expect, in a jacket pocket or a purse. It can store about 350 "standard eBooks" and can last about two weeks on a single charge, Sony claims. All that for $199.


The Touch Edition is a bit larger, with a six-inch display that you can control, as one might expect, via touch. Using either your finger, a stylus or the virtual keyboard, readers can turn pages, highlight or take notes. The notes can be exported (definitely seems to have the college market in mind) and has a built-in Oxford American English Dictionary — you can look up words by tapping on them. It has five font sizes and slots for memory sticks and SD cards. The colors are a bit heftier, too - red, black and silver. It's expected to retail for about $299.

Sony says both models use an E Ink Vizplex electronic paper display "that mimics the look of ink on paper." The software also is compatible with both PCs and Apple computers and enable the user to read PDF, Word, BBeB and other text files on the Reader.  New releases and New York Times bestseller titles in Sony's eBook Store will cost $9.99. Plus, readers will have access to the 1 million free public domain books that Google has digitized. They've been optimized for the Reader, Sony says.

The Reader will be available, naturally, through SonyStyle.com and at SonyStyle stores, but also at Best Buy, Borders, Costco, Staples, Target and Wal-Mart.

Anticipating this release, Amazon did cut prices on the Kindle 2, from $359 to $299, but it doesn't have quite all the extras of the Reader. And it comes only in white. Fashionistas will surely be pleased by the Sony color palette. (And note the Pocket Edition's resemblance to an iPod.)

Plus, there's the negative press Amazon's gotten of late, what with the cracked Kindles (which it replaced) and the deleted eBooks (an accident).

Is a price war brewing that, in the end, will benefit the consumer?  Stay tuned.

Via:  Sony
Comments
jaysonelliot 5 years ago

"Older, more established Kindle?"

The Kindle was released in Nov. 2007 - the Sony Reader was released in September 2006, and was based on the nearly identical Sony Libre which had been on sale in Japan since early 2004.

As of December, the Reader had sold 300,000 units in the US alone, while the Kindle was trailing behind at 240,000.

I believe you meant to say "…the newer, less established Kindle."

cjpa 5 years ago

And in Europe, it's not the Kindle, but the CyBook from www.bookeen.com which is the most popular.

DriveDog 5 years ago

Difficult to see how you could label the 1984 deletion fiasco "an accident." Selling the book might have been an accident, but deleting it could only have been intentional. Designing a device to allow for that is inexcusable anyhow. So what we want to know is whether the new Sony devices are subject to the same abuse. While I'm complaining, $10 per ebook is way too much to pay for something you can't resell and for which recurring production and distribution costs for the seller are nearly zero. Paperbacks require physical distribution, whether to a brick-and-mortar store or to your own mailbox, they cost something to print, and you may be able to recapture some of the purchase cost by reselling them. For ebooks, none of that applies, so I'm thinking they should be priced at something like 1/4 the price of the paperback. Come to think of it, why wouldn't I rather buy the book directly from the writer than from the now-useless middleman? On a positive note, Sony gets brownie points for promoting the use of the huge number of freely available ebooks.

mediaguru 5 years ago

Amy - I think you're drinking the koolaid too much. Porsche doesn't worry when Ford launches a new car... the Sonys don't have any wireless link, can't read books and don't have a keyboard for notes, searches or shopping. They're so old fashioned it's laughable.

ClemSnide 5 years ago

Having compared the two of them (and as a low-vision user) I'd have to say that I'm going to wait for the sequels. The new Sony has larger possible type sizes than either the old 550 or the Kindle 2, assuming it's their 700 model (which I think they merely rebranded as the "touch edition"). However, the additional layer of the touch screen makes the text "softer". The 550 had a great screen but the text wasn't enlargable enough for me.

The Kindle2, Kindle DX, etc. are hard to rate since you can't get your hands on one without actually buying it. Amazon has a program to hook up Kindle owners with prospective buyers, but I'm not a big fan of that. Sony, at least, is on display at bookstores. (Barnes & Noble? Borders? I honestly forget, and in Philadelphia their big stores are within a block of one another.)

Of course if both companies, as well as less well-known eBook reader manufacturers, wanted to send their latest products to me, I'd give them an unbiased review at HotHardware.com. ,)

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