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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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  • What I want (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @05:55PM (#28980109)
    I'm waiting for something with a reasonably decent screen, a decent flash drive, a few buttons. No subscription services, no wireless, no connectivity at all, no note taking or annotation features, no voice or recording... Just a thumbdrive hooked to a screen. That hardware should be WELL under $100. The extra features turn me off more than incentivize me.

    Currently, I'm using my DS, and it's adequate. It can scroll text, html, and pdf. Good return on a $7 cartridge, since I already had a DS.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @05:58PM (#28980135)

    and via iTunes. Music, movies.... books are just another story telling medium. And figuring digital distribution IS the future, why not?

    Too bad about their break with Google over some stupid voice apps... because Google may have been a great partner (ie Google Books) for Apple to catch up to Amazon.

    And the upgrade cycle would/is tremendous like the iPods were. Black/white small screen -> B/W big screen -> color screen -> flexible (?) screen -> ???

    Right after the 1st generation Kindle, with it's fugly looks, probably would have been the best time to get in. Even now, it wouldn't be bad... the kindle isn't a computer, doesn't have speed, etc. All things Apple could one up for those people that want a book reader and something to browse with and that's it.

  • No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:03PM (#28980199) Journal
    I don't need one to fit in my pocket, I need one that will fit in my briefcase or backpack, and is suitable for showing letter-sized pages at full scale without having to scroll all over the place, not seeing the whole page at any one time. Oh, and it absolutely *HAS* to be able to display user content (pdf's, in particular), not just content that some manufacturer or publisher thinks I might want to use it to read.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:09PM (#28980283)
    I think the rumored Apple tablet would be great for e-books but there are a few problems with the books. For one, its not perfect. Apple strives for perfection, for example, the iPod wasn't the first MP3 player but it was the first small one with a decent capacity hard drive. And it also doesn't have the simplicity in prices that Apple wants, Apple only wants a few main price points, and books open up a huge gap, while I would easily pay 99 cents for a 4 minute song as I would an 8 minute song, I'm not going to pay the same amount for a 200 page book as a 400 page book. Not to mention that a lot of books are in the public domain. Plus, there is the issue of rights. While a well-known song might only have 1-2 licensed distributors, other books may have many more.
  • Re:Good for Sony (Score:5, Interesting)

    by schwaang (667808) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:42PM (#28980585)

    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.

    Actually in the first 5 of Kindle Top Sellers at this moment are Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies" and Glenn Beck's "Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against and Out-of-Control Government,...". There isn't a single liberal leaning rant anywhere in the top 30, but I also see Dick Morris and Mark R. Levin from the right. So your assumption about the target demographic might be a tad off.

  • Re:What I want (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BlueF (550601) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:16PM (#28980913)
    Been using my eBay'ed $115 Sony eReader 505 for the last year. Aside from price being a little more, sounds exactly like what you describe.

    I literally don't leave home without it.

    Love being able to keep up on my reading on my lunch break or any other downtime that comes along.

    I have been tempted to switch to a Kindle, for it's syncing ability with my iPhone (for those times when I may have a few minutes and have left my eReader in my desk/car), but can't justify the added cost and presumably closed format. Haven't done enough research to see if one can import txt/rtf into the kindle.

    With my eReader, I have downloaded all the books I physically own, re-reading my library. Formatting downloaded books can be a pain, but when in txt/rtf format it's a no brainer. I feel bad for a half-second. Then I remember I'm not interested in paying twice for content I already have purchased in a different format (unless the added cost is going directly to the author rather than a middleman). There may be a time when I buy an eBook before owning the hardcopy, but with out the ability to turn around a sell/easily give someone a DRMed eBook, there's little motivation to go that route.
  • Re:What I want (Score:2, Interesting)

    by karl75771 (1142947) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:46PM (#28981191)

    I'm waiting for something with a reasonably decent screen, a decent flash drive, a few buttons. No subscription services, no wireless, no connectivity at all, no note taking or annotation features, no voice or recording... Just a thumbdrive hooked to a screen. That hardware should be WELL under $100. The extra features turn me off more than incentivize me. Currently, I'm using my DS, and it's adequate. It can scroll text, html, and pdf. Good return on a $7 cartridge, since I already had a DS.

    Instead of buying this crap, you could just buy a netbook for $299.

  • Re:DRM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:25PM (#28981489) Homepage Journal

    For those of you that already have the Kindle, the Calibre application works extremely nice with it. While it is ugly as sin, it is a very nice book manager and it works with both of our K2s just fine. I see it as a rudimentary iTunes for ebooks.

  • Re:DRM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Steve001 (955086) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:27PM (#28982175)

    initdeep wrote:

    not all pdf's are scaled to the screen.

    if it's created for the sony screen size it works perfectly, and iirc there is a wat to make a pdf that does not have hard page breaks and line breaks but will actually reflow when opened in the sony reader.

    I agree that PDFs are terrific on the Sony Reader as long as they are sized for the screen. When it comes for formatting my e-books, I prefer to take care of it myself (setting page size and margins, and having it set the page breaks via styles) rather than making the e-book reader do the work.

    When it comes to the new e-book readers, one feature I hope Sony (and other e-book reader makers if they haven't already added the feature) adds to their readers is the ability for the user to choose a typeface when displaying RTF files and plain text files. I prefer to read my e-books in a serif typeface, and often the reader displays them in a sans serif typeface regardless of the actual font in the original document. I searched online for help and wasn't able to find any.

    This is the main reason that I choose to format my e-books as PDFs. With RTF and plain text files I couldn't control the typeface the text would be shown in. With RTF files, sometimes they would display in the typeface that I chose, and at other times they would display in a different typeface.

    When I was using my Palm T/X as an ebook reader, one of the features I liked about the ereader program was I could choose the specific font that I wanted my ebooks to displayed in. I had the option of several different fonts that I could use.

  • Solar Panel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmigaHeretic (991368) on Friday August 07, 2009 @12:43AM (#28982825) Journal
    How effective would a solar cell be on an ebook reader like this? A little larger version of the kind found on cheap/free calculators since 1985. I know calc batteries last for like a year vs an eBook reader being 2 weeks, so the power is higher. I'd think, however, in the last 25 years solar has become a little more efficient. Just a thought.
  • by bkpark (1253468) on Friday August 07, 2009 @05:36AM (#28984185) 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.

    This was actually what won me over: Amazon's DRMs are strippable (search for "mobidedrm"; of course, it's "illegal", but who's going to prosecute me for keeping personal backups?), and once DRMs are gone, it's just one of the common Mobipocket book format. There are softwares that'll do conversion, e.g. from that book format to HTML.

    I guess this may not be good enough for the, er, legally scrupulous, but well, that's the best you can get until we get DMCA repealed—I don't think any publisher will agree to publish its golden eggs in a format that doesn't have DRM, at least not without the kind of pushback we have seen with music.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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