The new Sony daily edition surely is the logical next step in E-Reader development. Considering the size of the Reader, it is definitely suitable to read whole Newspapers on it without losing too much of the “Real Experience”, which of course impacts the portability at the same time. Sony took a page from Amazon on Tuesday in the intensifying competition to dominate the fast-growing e-book market, and it added a few chapters of its own.
The electronics giant introduced the Reader Daily Edition, its first portable reader, which will use AT&T’s 3G network to wirelessly download books, newspapers, magazines and other text. It’s similar to Amazon’s Kindle, which uses Sprint’s network.
But unlike the market leader, Sony’s unit — which will cost $400 when it hits the shelves before Christmas — will have a 7-inch touch-screen and will accommodate several e-book formats, including ePub, which many libraries use for the electronic editions that they lend.
“It not only gets (Sony) back in the game, it enlarges the stadium,” says Richard Doherty of The Envisioneering Group, a technology research and consulting firm.
For example, the touch-screen makes it easy to turn pages with the swipe of a finger. Owners also can use a stylus to write notes directly in the margins of the book.
The Kindle has taken off in part because its wireless connections make it easy for owners to impulsively buy and instantly download any of Amazon’s 349,000 e-books.
Sony hopes to top that by promoting the ability of the Daily Edition to download books and text from a variety of sources, including independent bookseller Powells.com.
“The mantra for our group is ‘open’ — and, more importantly, I’d describe it as ‘access,’ ” says Sony Digital Reading President Steve Haber. “It’s access to content, and not one store to one device.”
The Daily Edition will make it easy to access libraries’ nascent e-book services. Users who have a library card can punch a ZIP code into the on-screen keyboard, and the Reader will connect to the appropriate branch.
Sony, like Amazon, won’t charge consumers directly for the wireless service.
But “it’s not clear whether they can sustain a subsidized wireless model” if users buy books from other retailers or just access libraries, says Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at research firm NPD Group.
Although Sony wants to promote the Daily Edition’s ability to download timely material, it could not say what newspapers or magazines will be available.
Users can’t directly access Web sites, the way they can on the Kindle. Another difference: The Sony Reader won’t translate text into speech.
The Daily Edition joins two other new Sony models that don’t have wireless: The Reader Pocket Edition has a 5-inch screen and sells for $200. And the Reader Touch Edition, with a 6-inch touch-screen, goes for $300.
The Kindle 2, with a 6-inch screen, also costs $300.
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