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Sony Takes Aim At Amazon's Kindle 273

Posted by timothy
from the critical-mass-is-critical-though dept.
MojoKid writes "Sony recently announced two new eBook readers and has set its sights on tapping into Amazon's Kindle market share. The Sony Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition will come out at the end of the month and will reportedly 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. The Touch Edition is a bit larger, with a six-inch display that, as you'd expect, can be controlled via a touch interface."
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Sony Takes Aim At Amazon's Kindle

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  • Good for Sony (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:54PM (#28980091)

    I was starting to get worried about their eBook commitment with outdated PRS-500/505 models. Don't need Whispernet and don't need a freaking dedicated keyboard on a eBook device. Just give me the text and native PDF support.

    I'm a big fan of Amazon but Kindle just rubs me the wrong way. I'm considered to be their target demographic too - a left coast liberal yuppie who loves to read obscure novels by authors who committed suicide. But I never made my peace with the device.

  • DRM (Score:1, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:54PM (#28980101) Journal

    Unless they decided to dump the DRM, why would anyone on Slashdot want to buy these?

  • Someone mod me up! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:01PM (#28980185)

    OMG Rootkit!!!!1!!1!~ Sony SUXX lol!

    Can you mod me up now?

  • by xzvf (924443) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:08PM (#28980265)
    You might be joking about the hardware, but ebook readers need more and cheaper content to become popular. People want books where they only pay for the content and delivery costs. Not publishers setting artificially high prices to not compete with paper based books. Not to mention that we need significantly more books in the catalog. Only a small percentage of the books available on Amazon have ebook peers.
  • by Toonol (1057698) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:22PM (#28980407)
    If you had used decent grammar, sure. Your points are quite insightful.
  • It's a Sony Clie SJ22.

    Yes, I know it's like six years old.

    Yes, I know it's only 320x320.

    Don't care. It works better as an eBook reader than anything bigger could, because it's small enough I can take it anywhere.

    Plus it plays Alchemy and Bejeweled and Collapse and Seven Seas, and holds all my names and addresses and magic numbers.

    And I can use it as an IR remote to freak people out in bars by surreptitiously turning the TV off and on.

    Do that on your Kindle.

  • by Fizzol (598030) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:48PM (#28980655)
    It's just as easy to copy content to the Kindle, easier actually since it also has the wireless option. And honestly the Sony isn't any more open than the Kindle, you can't even strip the DRM from Sony's LRF format.
  • by abigor (540274) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:58PM (#28980757)

    Try reading it outside in bright, direct sunlight (ie the beach).

    Readers like these Sony ones and the Kindle are all about the e-ink displays, full stop. They are awesome, and the charge life is measured in weeks. LCDs are shit for reading books, honestly.

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:24PM (#28980987)

    That is, unless they have fixed their battery tech.

    My thoughts exactly, first thing that came to my mind!!!

    Not mine... I was thinking "How will Sony screw over there own customers this time?" Looks cool, but what nasty DRM lurks underneath?

  • Re:DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:02PM (#28981317)

    Yes, Sony can tend to be very open, as long as the BMG part of Sony doesn't find out about the move.

    You see, Sony suffers from a certain dissonance: part of their company manufactures electronics, people want to buy things that are open and don't impose undue restrictions on them, they prefer gadgets they can do what they want with, that allow them to take their media and use it however they like.

    The other part of Sony is one of the largest recording companies, a member of the RIAA.

    The other half of Sony doesn't want you to be able to do anything with your media at all, except play it once, and then pay them every time you want a copy on a new device of yours. DRM is a must and non-negotiable as far as people with that type of thinking are concerned.

    There would be a lot of benefit to consumers, and probably to Sony, if the two parts of Sony would just split and become separate companies...

    In the mean time, it's anyone's guess what they'll do as far as DRM for eBooks; politically speaking, I don't see how Sony Music Entertainment could ever be happy with Sony encouraging DRM-free content, even if it's not music...

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:46PM (#28981621) Homepage

    I'll consider getting another eBook device when they make it possible to lend an eBook the way I can lend a physical book.

    I want to be able to lend Kindle books... commercial, protected, bestseller-type books... to a person with a Sony reader. I want to be able to replace my Sony reader three years down the road with whatever eBook reading device appeals to me and move all my books to the new device.

    And I want to be able to make the transfers just as I can today with a physical book.

    I have $300 worth of ebooks I purchased for my Rocket eBook. When I bought them I was assured that if I ever needed to replace the device, I could just give them the new serial number and re-download the books re-coded for the new device. Well, I my eBook device finally bit the dust. I now have $300 worth of eBooks that can be read only on a device that no longer exists, unless I buy a replacement device that doesn't exist, contact a customer service department that no longer exists, and re-download them from a server that no longer exists, operated by a company that no longer exists.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  • So you're saying it is fair to try and price the iPhone without the dataplan, but you should compare it to a netbook that is being subsidized with a data plan?

    What is especially troubling is the iPhone data plan is $30 a month, and you're suggesting the netbook with the $60 a month data plan is cheaper.

  • by nabsltd (1313397) on Friday August 07, 2009 @12:46AM (#28982577)

    If you want to download ebooks to a device, you have to pay for internet access.

    Not really.

    It takes a long time to read one book, so occasional visits to free Wi-Fi hotspots should keep you in as many books as you want. For that, the iPod Touch does far better than the iPhone, as you don't have any monthly fees.

    But, the 32GB iPod Touch costs over $350 and has a very small screen. You can get a decent netbook with as much storage and a much larger screen for about the same size, and that would be far better for eBook reading.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07, 2009 @03:51AM (#28983423)

    What are they smoking? Paperbacks cost less than that, and I'd expect something with zero production cost to be an order of magnitude cheaper.

    This is just begging for piracy.

    Why is everything about rationalizing piracy??? Too expensive don't buy it. The responder below explains the price but I doubt it'll make any difference. Most people that pirate would still pirate if it was a $1. Okay let's say it's that holly grail price I always hear, a $1. A normal first run for a novel is 10,000 so lets say they sell 10,000 copies at a $1. Let's say in a perfect world they split the $1 so the author sees $5,000. A fair price you say? Well let's say the author spent 6 months writing it and only manages to get one book a year published. How long can you live on $5,000? Now that's assuming they get half and 10,000 actually sell. Authors are like bands and filmmakers. The bulk of them barely make a living. For every JK Rowling and Stephen King there are tens of thousands that barely make a living and tens of thousands more that don't do that well. Take away 90% of the profit and 99% of the books would disappear. Writing is harder than it looks and writers deserve to be paid. Get rid of the publishing companies? Trust me you wouldn't know who Stephen King and JK Rowlings even were. Part of their purpose and a lot of the expense is picking through the ramble to find the gems. Reading a 100, more like a 1000, books to find one worth publishing takes time and money. Publishing has a long history going back before even the first printing press. It predates the founding of America and it will likely outlive what we call computers today and probably the things that come after that. I hope a thousand years from now they are still publishing dead tree editions because a thousand years after that some of them will still be around. How many ebooks do you think will be around in two thousand years? Fantasies of endlessly copying data are just that. File formats are measured in years not thousands of years. Already most of my early work can't be accessed except in printed for and that's after 20 years. Ebooks aren't like songs. People like boasting about having tens of thousands of songs in their collections. The difference with books is having a thousand books in your collection isn't impressive, reading a thousand books "IS" impressive. It isn't about status it's about knowledge.

  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07, 2009 @06:38AM (#28984201)

    Seriously? Insightful??

    Read the specs - I've owned both the 505 and the 700. Both have both internal memory, memory sticks, and plain SD cards. It takes open format books and really does last the 2 weeks it says.

    Sure, Sony aren't always knights in shining armour - but their ebook readers are absolutely fantastic, they let me carry around a whole library, in non-DRM format, to read by the pool, on the tube.

    This is a GOOD product

  • Nice try. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zifferent (656342) on Friday August 07, 2009 @08:52AM (#28984949)
    Outside of political science textbooks, the term is so broad of meaning as to be useless, and your right-wing rant on liberal meaning "love government programs and regulation ("tax and spend" and "big government")" proves it. Liberal, simply put, is the opposite of conservative. A person with liberal views is more likely to embrace a change. A conservative on the other hand, by definition, is someone who prefers things to stay as they are, or even pines for a "simpler" time in the past.

    In common usage the term liberal has a wide degree of latitude in its definition depending who is using it and where. It usually denotes someone who is a hippie or is in favor of social justice programs and is in favor of taxing the rich and big business.
  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07, 2009 @09:20AM (#28985197)

    1) Buy a Memory Stick
    2) Plug Memory Stick into $3us universal card reader
    3) Copy your warezed e-books onto Memory Stick
    4) Plug Memory Stick into eReader
    5) Buy an SD card
    6) Plug SD card into $3us universal card reader
    7) Copy more warezed e-books onto SD card
    8) Plug SD card into eReader
    9) Read warezed e-books
    a) STFU . "Proprietary" doesn't mean "my brain shuts down and I can't figure out how to use the thing."

  • by SputnikPanic (927985) on Friday August 07, 2009 @11:26AM (#28986451)

    No argument on the Sony's PDF and EPUB support, however, just to clarify:

    Copying content to the Kindle works exactly the same way. It shows up like a USB drive just like the Sony does.

    You can read DRM-free Baen and Fictionwise content on Kindle as well. Essentially all of Fictionwise's multiformat books work on Kindle.

    Really, DRM-free is the key here. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but with DRM-free books, it's not just a matter of "I own this collection of bytes and I can move it around as I choose." It's also means a much greater likelihood that you'll be able to find that book in whatever format you want. And if for some reason you can't find it in format X, chances are you can convert it yourself.

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