Hear Ye, Hear Ye: New Sonys Ahoy

The PocketDubbed the “Pocket” and the “Touch,” Sony has released formal data about the two new digital book readers they plan to release later this month – earlier than they planned, after a few tech blogs posted pictures when J&R music listed them for sale prematurely (oops!)

The TouchThe NY Times and Engadget have more info, as does USA Today and a whole heap of other folks. The Pocket Reader will be $199 and the Touch Reader will be $299 US retail.

The highlights I’m most curious about:

  • Sony’s eBook Library software 3.0, which now includes support for many Macs as well as PCs
  • The Touch “comes with a stylus, which can be used to highlight text or make handwritten notes.” Cue many joyous reactions, especially from me. I am ALL OVER THAT. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
  • Wireless? Nope – soon come: “Steve Haber, president of Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division, said the company aims to have a wireless version, but it would have to work with multiple book vendors.” What stores might that be? Will it be a shopping clusterfuck like going to 14 different stores via Stanza?
  • $199 Sony Pocket does not have expandable memory, but the Touch at $299 does. I know this is a major issue for some of you readers out there – does the extra $100 turn you off?

Plus, in related news, Sony is dropping the price of “new releases and New York Times bestseller titles in the eBook Store … to $9.99.” OUCH. Of course, Sony has the edge in terms of friendly relations with other format, since Kindle is as Kindle does, and only plays with itself (heh). One of the things I have long liked best about the Sony is that I can bargain shop for books and am not wedded to one single bookstore, even though Sony has its own bookstore.

I do think the $199/$299 prices put the Readers in a much more affordable range. One or two gift cards to Best Buy or a few thousand MyPoints and you can knock some dollars off the price easily, putting it well into the range of someone who absolutely balked at spending more than $350 on a Reader.

So – what do you think of the devices? Any interest? Prefer a different set of specs? Holding out for wireless shopping options on the Reader itself? Share your opinion!

 

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General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Lee says:

    The pocket is now $100 cheaper than the kindle, which makes me feel a little light headed and giddy.  The Mac compatibility is a must for me. I’d be sold if it had expandable memory/memory slot since I like to carry around a ton of books.

  2. 2
    Jessica G. says:

    That 600 is making my 505 seriously jealous. It’s almost a good thing it’s not coming in that delicious plum color, because then I might have just bought one. Soooo happy though that the world won’t end if something happens to my 505.

    As for the no memory expansion on the 300, meh. I’ve never even used a memory card on my 505, and the 300 has even bigger memory. I think they did it to keep the price down. But hey, you’ve got the option, and that extra 100 bucks gets you a whole lot.

    Also glad they didn’t make this line wireless. I really don’t want wireless on my Reader. This whole scenario to me just screams OPTIONS and I love options :D

    This is a new and exciting direction for Sony to take :D

  3. 3
    azteclady says:

    I’m on the “don’t care for wireless” camp—now I need to hold both models and play a bit with the screen to see the quality. But at $200 and $300, these look way more accessible than their predecessors.

    *looking for more pennies*

    (and the verification word is scary: economic93. You sure there’s no AI at work here?)

  4. 4
    LIta says:

    Sony has the edge in terms of friendly relations with other format, since Kindle is as Kindle does, and only plays with itself (heh).

    I am feeling like an iPod user at a Zune convention – fighting FUD for all it’s worth. 

    The Kindle, in all its versions, has always supported Text Files and MobiPocket (.PRC) natively.  There is no DRM inherent in MobiPocket.  MobiPocket books can be downloaded directly onto the Kindle from the Internet using the Kindle’s “experimental” browser. 

    If you’re going to dis the Kindle, please, please be accurate.

    Lita

  5. 5
    AnneD says:

    It’s PINK yo! I’m there with bells on!! (had only seen the silver one previously)

    The 300 model is goign to be perfect for teens/schools etc getting into eBooks – although schools might prefer the expansion slots. I wonder when they might do that – create school specific commissioned readers? It must come at some point soon

    Of course, now I have to figure out what size to make my Anne’s Addictions covers to get them to fit… crap.

  6. 6
    Brenna says:

    The Kindle, in all its versions, has always supported Text Files and MobiPocket (.PRC) natively.  There is no DRM inherent in MobiPocket.  MobiPocket books can be downloaded directly onto the Kindle from the Internet using the Kindle’s “experimental” browser.

    If you’re going to dis the Kindle, please, please be accurate.

    LOL, somehow I think that Sarah was talking more about DRM files and that Sony supports BBeB, ADE & ePub while the Kindle supports AZW.  It is still hard to find bestsellers and popular books being sold DRM free.  As for unsecured formats, both Sony & Amazon have a variety of options, so there’s really no arguing about that.

    I’m seriously lusting for the PRS-600!!

  7. 7
    Dottie says:

    I wish there was a way to try before you buy.  I love, love, love the new pink color, but I want to see how it works first.

    I also like the expandable memory of the Touch, but it looks more fragile….decisions.

    I’m definitely liking these prices better!

  8. 8
    GrowlyCub says:

    I’ve inserted a 2GB memory card in my 505 and am fast filling that up, so no expandable memory on the 300 is a minus in my book and while I like the central button I would definitely miss the buttons the 505 has on the middle right.  I use those a lot.

    I’m not sure about the 600.  As somebody with issues with my hands, wrists, shoulders, I’m not convinced that a swipe isn’t more work aka using more energy and putting more strain on my broken down body than clicking either of the 2 buttons I currently use.

    I’ll be waiting till they come out with a wireless version.  I can’t wait to dispense with the cable and moving stuff into the software and onto the reader.  That’s the only thing I really miss on my 505 (well and a faster browse option and a search option and… grin).

    Great to know that there will be so many choices in the future.  Does anybody know whether the 505 will go away after the 300 and 600 are released?

  9. 9
    CupK8 says:

    The Pocket is PERFECT for me.  I’m a grad student, so as far as electronic toys (hmm) go this is on the cheap side and well worth it.  I think a wireless function would be death for my checkbook, so I’m not crying over the lack.  I am certainly intrigued!

  10. 10
    library addict says:

    Methinks the 700 in red is so pretty.  Me wants it!

    I do wish they had a wider color selection like the Cooler does.  If it came in dark purple I would give up food for a while to get it – LOL. 

    The lack of wi-fi doesn’t bother me, but the $300 price is still a bit too steep for my wallet at this time.  However, I think by this time next year I may very well have given in and purchased one.  I had planned to wait for the DRM issue to go away and publishers to agree on a standardized format… Yeah, not happening any time soon, right? I’m thinking that was very naïve on my part. 

    I haven’t read through all of the various links.  Any word on if they will come with at least a basic cover like the other Sony models did?

  11. 11
    library addict says:

    Eek!  That should be 600 not 700.  Guess it’s time to go to sleep.

    Around46.  Yes, it’s possible my above post has that many typos.

  12. 12
    Jenn says:

    I am SO SO SO happy! Thanks bitches! I have the 700 and love it more than, more than, more than the latest hero in my library list. But I am MAC and it is PC, that means whenever I check out a book from the Denver Public Library I have to download it on my daughters PC then transfer it to my reader. It will be so incredibly nice to keep my library and everything on MY MAC.

    (PLUS, some of these steamy books shouldn’t be found on a child’s computer. So I have to DL them and return them then hope I don’t need to plug my reader in before I finish the book HA!!)

    Yes WiFi would be a huge improvement and is definitely the next step, but the fact that it swings both ways (PC/MAC) makes me happy enough to donate my old(er) reader to my daughters.

    PLUS, I have long been jealous of the colors available in the 505. Hee
    Giddy. Very Giddy. Thanks again bitches!

  13. 13
    Jenn says:

    I’m not sure about the 600.  As somebody with issues with my hands, wrists, shoulders, I’m not convinced that a swipe isn’t more work aka using more energy and putting more strain on my broken down body than clicking either of the 2 buttons I currently use.

    PS GrowlyCub there are buttons, they just don’t look the same, they are at the bottom of the screen you can see them in larger images.

  14. 14
    GrowlyCub says:

    If I read the articles right there will be a firmware upgrade for the 505 to make it mac compatible?!?

    Jenn, saw the buttons on a different pic, but I don’t think they would be very ergonomic.  I’ll have to take a look when they come out, but so far I didn’t see anything that would make me go, ‘gotta have’. :)  Good thing too, since I just got my 505 this February!

  15. 15
    Brenna says:

    If I read the articles right there will be a firmware upgrade for the 505 to make it mac compatible?!?

    That’s for sure.  I got an email from the Sony Store on July 11 informing me that the Mac software will be available by the end of summer and that I should send them an email if I want to be updated.

  16. 16
    Caroline says:

    I’ve been using my old PDA forever, but at 200 bucks, I might shell out for one of these. I don’t need wireless, so that’s no big loss. Very exciting! I’ve wanted an actual ereader for a long time, but couldn’t justify the expense.

  17. 17

    I like the note-taking possibilities on the 600. A lot.

    hospital65: Is that an omen? Threat? What?

  18. 18
    Melissa S. says:

    I like that these are affordable and come in colors. Believe it or not, but I think colors and design may be the way Sony captures younger reading audiences. I mean I was talking to someone who wanted to get a Kindle but hadn’t yet got one because it was ugly.

    If the NYTimes article is right and we can expect a wireless Sony as early as this year i would almost say it better look really sleek and cool.

    Yes this is the logic that comes from drinking the “Apple” juice.

  19. 19
    JenD says:

    This is great news!

    I’m already sold on the Sony brand (tired of Amazon beyond belief) and now they’re starting to come into my price point.

    Now- just to get ebooks down from astronomical heights. Fine- I’ll put up with DRM (for now), but can we just get a price to reflect the fact that I don’t *truly* own it?

  20. 20
    Lexin says:

    It is good news that there’ll be something around for when I wear out my Sony 505. What I want to know is when Sony are going to open their store to people from outside the US.  Waterstones (the UK supplier) are rubbish in comparison, and I use the competition, who don’t always get books in as quickly as I would like, and sometimes not at all.

  21. 21
    Mary G says:

    Well the prices are definitely making it worth considering – and I too am loving the pink :)

    Still want wireless personally, but don’t really care too much about expandable memory – I can always store the stuff I’ve read on a spare hard drive.

    I AM excited to hear more about the deals with booksellers mentioned for the forthcoming wireless version – wonder if it will include a bricks and morter bookseller?

  22. 22
    Teddypig says:

    I’ll wait for the rumored Apple Tablet.

    Why waste even $200.00 on a one note product from a company that has dumped both it’s products and services before when it is very obvious from examples by Cool-er and so on that someone is going to come out with a sub $200.00 eBook Reader very soon here with all the same basic features?

    This market is getting swamped and the prices will drop when everyone’s eBook Reader is doing the same thing the same way.

  23. 23

    Wireless would be nice, but it’s not a dealbreaker.  I’m getting closer to knowing what I might ask for at holiday time.

  24. 24
    Sandia says:

    I’m super tempted by the touch version – I just like the Sony style so much more.  But I am so addicted to Amazon’s immediate satisfaction for book shopping.  My ideal would be that Sony decides that they don’t want to be a content provider and links up with Amazon.  Instant gratification plus pretty reader – I’ll be alllllllllll over that.

  25. 25

    I think I want the ‘touch’ one, but I wanna see it first.

  26. 26

    I’m definitely interested in the Pocket… hopefully they’ll have displays up so that I can actually SEE it before laying out the cash.

    Ideally I’d like an ebook reader below 100, but… this is a good move in the right direction!

    WooHoo!

  27. 27
    Debra Hyde says:

    Love them!  Sony probably whipped up the Pocket to compete directly with the Cooler on price point and let’s not forget that Son’y competing on an international stage.  Their models compete with all the European and Asian readers, not just the Kindle.

    Their Touch?  I’m not a touchscreen fanatic, but I can well understand Sony’s approach to capturing as much of that market as well.  I just hope they improved the screen clarity and layering.  (I wasn’t a big 700 fan, obviously.)

    I doubt wireless is far behind via a third model, but if you’d seen the Samba carnival that the Cooler staged twice a day at BEA, you’d rush to get the Pocket to market too.  Amazing, how quickly the reading device market has gelled!

  28. 28
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I’m so buying a Pocket for my sister for Christmas!!!

  29. 29
    Jess B. says:

    There’s a Sony store in the mall near me, so I’ll definitely take my little 700 on a field trip to visit and compare to the it’s new siblings once it launches.

    I’m especially interested in the Pocket version, as I don’t yet have a massive ebook collection built up and am more than happy to leave any excess books on my computer. Plus I heart the pink case.

    As for the wireless option, I prefer not to have it for three reasons: 1) have iPhone, so any wireless web browsing is covered there, 2) if I have wireless on the device I will likely purchase more books than I can actually afford, and 3) I’m still really creeped out by Amazon’s recent use of the Kindle’s wireless feature.

    I really just want a device that I can read books on affordably.

  30. 30
    Anne Douglas says:

    I haven’t read through all of the various links.  Any word on if they will come with at least a basic cover like the other Sony models did?

    Just from browsing the pictures the 300 at least looks like it might – it has the same set of ‘holes’ that my 505 has to clip into the cover. Not exactly a guarantee, I know, but the potential is there.

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