Sony's $399 Reader Daily Edition Adds AT&T 3G, Looks To Rival Kindle

When Sony introduced its Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition earlier this month, we definitely didn't see this coming. We knew the company was planning on releasing a connected Reader in the future, but evidently Sony meant "the near future." At an event today in the Big Apple, Sony introduced its newest and most attractive e-book reader to date with the Reader Daily Edition.

The biggest difference between this Reader and every other one that Sony has unveiled is the inclusion of 3G. The device will utilize AT&T's network in America in order to let users download new material anywhere that AT&T has coverage, which is a big step up from the "plug your Reader into your PC" approach. There's no doubt that Sony is finally getting serious about rivaling Amazon's Kindle, which has boasted Sprint connectivity from day one. Steve Haber, president of Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division, was understandably excited about the announcement:

"We firmly believe consumers should have choice in every aspect of their digital reading experience. Today, we take another large stride to deliver on that promise.  We now have the most affordable devices on the market, the greatest access to free and affordable eBooks through The eBook Store from Sony and our affiliated ecosystem, and now round out our Reader offering with a wireless device that lets consumer purchase and download content on the go."

The newest Reader sports a 7" touch screen display, USB support, free wireless access to Sony's eBook store (for US users only), 16 levels of grayscale, an aluminum body with an integrated cove, expansion memory card slots, and enough internal memory to hold over 1,000 standard eBooks. The unit also includes the company's eBook Library software version 3.0, which has support for OS X, EPUB, Word, BBeB and a few other text file formats. Speaking of the eBook store, Sony has overhauled it in order to make finding books easier, and it also announced relationships with a variety of traditional and digital publishers who provide content in industry standard formats to create a universe of reading material compatible with the Reader.

The new Reader Daily Edition will ship this December in time for the holidays for around $399.