It slices, it dices, it reads your ebooks!

Sony 600The $199 barrier has been broken by a digital reader, if J&R Music World is to be believed.

After much discussion of the Sony service manuals MobileRead reader komugi found them on sale at J&R available for pre-order.

The PRS-300 is priced at J&R at $199.99 – breaking the $200 barrier by one whole penny (before shipping and taxes).

The product description includes a 5” screen and 3 font sizes, but what caught my eye was this part:

# Media Formats Supported:
Unsecured Text: EPUB File (Non DRM/ Adobe DRM protected), BBeB Book (Non DRM/ PRS DRM protected), PDF file (Non DRM/ Adobe DRM protected)
DRM Text: Text file, RTF file, Word file (unsecured)

Am I missing something? DRM is text, RTF, and Word only?

The 600 is priced at J&R for $299.99 – obviously before shipping and tax, and includes a touchscreen, but no onboard light like the PRS-700.

I am really curious about the 600 because of this part of the description:

Take freehand notes and highlight sections of text you want to revisit later, just as you would in a real book, using the included stylus. If you prefer, a virtual Keyboard is also available for entering quick notes or searching your eBooks. If you want, you can even export your notes to your Computer using the eBook Library software.

I recently switched to using the 505 because the screen quality of the 700 was starting to really bother my eyes, and the 505 is amazing in its display. If the 600 has better screen quality without the light and preserves the note taking ability (which the 505 does not have) I would be a very happy camper indeed.


General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    library addict says:

    Any info yet if the new versions will have memory slots or wifi?

    Personally I don’t care about having wifi as I am too much of an impulse buyer and having to shop form my home PC would undoubtedly save my wallet.  But I know it’s the feature that sways many people toward the Kindle.

    If only someone would make a nice eReader for under $100…

  2. 2

    Whoa on the freehand notes thing—I have been watching the iRex (massive price tag, crappy service, and buggy OS that it appears to have) for the stylus notetaking capability.

    I thought that the Sony only had a virtual keyboard for input with finger and/or stylus.  Is this new?  Or can you actually write marginalia in handwriting and underline things?

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    the Sony only had a virtual keyboard for input with finger and/or stylus.  Is this new?  Or can you actually write marginalia in handwriting and underline things?

    The 700 only allows notes with the virtual keyboard. If the 600 has the freehand note ability AND a quality screen (the 700 screen is so muddy compared to the 505), I’m all over that.

    As for the memory slots: my guess is no, there are none, because if there were, they would be mentioned in the device specs on the manual from Sony and on J&R.

  4. 4
    Robin says:

    I am thrilled that a Sony model with fewer bells and whistles is coming out at a lower price point! This may be the Sony for me! I adore the PRS-700 I am test driving but I have yet to use the note taking feature and memory slots and 350 books (since your library can live on your computer) is more than enough for me. As for a light? I’ll buy an external one if it will save me $150. I can’t wait to hear what reviews say about the text quality on the 300.

  5. 5

    If there is a real freehand note capability, I am buying this so fast it isn’t even funny, screen-mud not withstanding. I’ve seen a ton of prototypes of freehand on digital readers but besides the iRex nothing else has come to market.

    Are there release dates?  Even speculative release dates?  :)

  6. 6
    Deanna says:

    I’ve been obsessively and anxiously reading the Mobile Read forum thread about these.  For anyone that hasn’t looked, what happened was that the service manuals for the two new models were leaked.  People were analyzing them, the way you’d look at a car repair manual and figure out what the car’s like.  If the car repair manual talks about how to repair the 6 disc mp3 cd changer, you know the car will have a 6 disc mp3 cd changer.

    Wifi – No with both devices.  Nowhere in the manuals was there mention of the hardware needed for wifi.

    Card slots – No on the 300, Yes on the 600.  The 600 will have the same slots the 505 and 700 have.

  7. 7
    Angela James says:

    I’m really disappointed there’s 1) no wi-fi and 2) no memory card slots in these new models. I’m not sure how Sony plans to be competitive with the Kindle when it’s not introducing anything new into its readers and is actually taking a step back with removing the memory card option.

    The other thing I can’t tell is how big the page turn buttons are on the new models. That’s why I keep using the 700 over the 505. Those small buttons are almost too small after a little prolonged use.

  8. 8
    Robin says:

    If not having wifi keeps the cost down, I’m all for Sony keeping readers in the line up without it. The new 300 sounds like a great basic reader for those like me who just want to read. The lower the price point on an introductory model, the more people will buy one and the faster the ebook market will grow.

  9. 9
    Melissa S. says:

    Angela the 600 does have a memory card slot. And you kind of have to look at it like this. Wifi is great if you live in the U.S. travel in the U.S. and don’t plan on leaving the U.S. It’s not necessarily competitive once you’re outside of the U.S. because the things that the Kindle is offering (instant gratification) no longer apply.

    For a company like Sony that is a Japanese based company it doesn’t make since to offer wi-fi and all it’s limitations to just Americans or just Japanese or both and then have to manage the system.

    If Sony really wanted to go the wi-fi route and actually have me buy into it, it would need to be international and that’s about as likely to happen as the sell of Region Free Dvds and Dvd players.

  10. 10
    Joy says:

    This news makes me very excited.  Almost makes up for my lost 505 – but not quite

  11. 11

    Of course the other thing all this means is that we Test Drivers are test driving the equivalent of a (non-time-traveling) DeLorean.

    Ah, well, it won’t be the first time I’ve been in the slow lane on the Infobahn….

  12. 12
    Anna says:

    Nothing I’ve seen about these new models has endangered my 505, which I love.

  13. 13
    Brenna says:

    Kindle actually use Whispernet not Wifi.  They are both wireless but the wireless technology used by the Kindle uses the cellular approach while Wifi transmits data from an internet connection to a host computer.  An ebook device equipped with wireless receiver in a “hot spot” can access data via the Wifi network.  Both are at a disadvantage in a way that if your area is not under cellular network coverage or you cannot find a wifi “hot spot”, wireless technology doesn’t work.  On the other hand, the iPhone has both features.  One of the reasons why Amazon has not yet expanded to other countries is because they have to find a cellular network that supports this type of technology that will make the Kindle wireless capability work in that country.  On the other hand, Sony is already selling in Canada, UK, France and Germany and probably Netherlands soon.

    I’m okay if the Sony does not come out with either wifi or whispernet since I don’t do impulse buy.  What I want wifi for is to surf the web from time to time when I am not in the office or at home.  But ebook devices are not in color anyway and that sorts of take away the joy in surfing the web for me.  I would rather use my iPod Touch to do that.

    Sony also says that it aims to get the Sony reader into the hands of as many people as possible.  I think the Sony PRS-300 is their answer to that.  A simple basic reader with enough capacity to load hundreds of ebooks and get people reading.  And it is exactly what it is, a reader, not a computer, not an MP3 player, not a camera, etc..  Plus, they have promised that they will be coming out with the Mac software.  And let’s face it, not everyone can afford expensive devices.  With the price range, I can imagine myself giving them out as gifts.

  14. 14
    Lorelie says:

    # Media Formats Supported:
    Unsecured Text: EPUB File (Non DRM/ Adobe DRM protected), BBeB Book (Non DRM/ PRS DRM protected), PDF file (Non DRM/ Adobe DRM protected)
    DRM Text: Text file, RTF file, Word file (unsecured)

    Am I missing something? DRM is text, RTF, and Word only?

    No, look in the parenthesis of each type.  Even though it’s listed under “unsecured text,” it then goes on to specify that with Adobe/PRS protection, it can be read. 

    I bought a 505 this weekend, and had a bit of a heart attack when i noticed that on the side, but I successfully loaded a DRMed PDF book.

  15. 15
    Emma says:

    I don’t need another gadget. I love reading ebooks on my iTouch and would recommend the iTouch or iPhone to anyone. Don’t waste money on something that has only one function.

  16. 16
    Joy says:

    Emma -
    I’m all for multi-function devices if they work for you.  However, reading on an iPhone/iTouch/BBerry/etc gives me a headache (it’s the backlight) so I’m a huge fan a dedicated eInk device – and i’m really missing my Sony as I lug around a 600 page hardback book this week :-(

    - Joy

  17. 17
    RKB says:

    The J&R link for the PRS-300 doesn’t work anymore, FYI.

    Needs34 – I don’t need 34 e-book readers.  :-)

  18. 18

    In addition, Angela, the newest Kindles don’t have memory card capabilities.  It’s something else Kindle users are complaining about.  Only the first generation had it.

  19. 19
    Angela James says:

    Oh, I know. I own a Kindle 2 in addition to the two Sony’s. It’s one of the reasons I use the Sony over the Kindle. My point was that they’re currently offering something Kindle isn’t, but w/out the memory card, that’s one thing removed. I don’t see lack of a memory card as desirable.

  20. 20
    azteclady says:

    I just finished reading all 22 pages of posts in the mobile read forums (yeah, too much time in my hands, I know) and I’m in agreement with some of the posters there, who posit:

    A simpler device—the PRS300—at a lover price point ($199) is probably the thing needed to break the barrier that many people (like me) face when considering a reader. I can’t afford all the bells and whistles but I don’t want a piece of crap either.

    The Sony quality with the much lauded screen quality of the 505 with enough memory for some 300 to 400 ebooks at around $200? I’m much more likely to jump on that edge of the pool.

    I thin there are plenty of people like me and that once more people have a reader, more people will want one.

    Ugh, I don’t think I’m making sense. Too much techno speak in my brain…

  21. 21
    Sana-chan says:

    I know this is late to the game, but I saw the 300 and 600 at the Sony store last week, and was really impressed. Also, it came in a gorgeous raspberry pink, and since I’m a sucker for pink, now I REALLY want won. I don’t know if they changed some specs before shipping, but my husband was pretty sure that the 300 actually had a memory slot, but he may have just been looking at the 600.

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