As expected, the new lineup of Sony Readers has arrived with the rumored touch capability, though there’s none of the 3G we heard about. Query: why is every company releasing things so late tonight? It’s a good thing I have no life!
The familiar three “editions” of the e-reader family are still around, but they’ve been improved with the new Pearl e-ink display for improved contrast and speed, and Sony says it’s improved the touch-sensitive layer as well. All of them come with styli, so you can make your marginalia right onto the e-book pages. They’ve also been slimmed down and redesigned (they all weigh half a pound or less). I think they look much better now, though I do still prefer the aesthetic of the Kindle 3. Each has 2GB of internal memory and an SD card/Memory Stick Pro slot.
Only the Daily Edition, which won’t be out until November, has any kind of wireless connectivity: 3G and Wi-Fi, while neither of its little siblings has either. Inexplicable, really.
The 5-inch PRS-350 Pocket Edition is $179, the 6-inch PRS-650 Touch Edition is $229, and the 7-inch PRS-950 Daily Edition $299. Kind of expensive, don’t you think? Yeah, I thought so too. I mean, they look like great devices, but the Kindle is really killing them on price, and I think price is the main driver of e-reader sales, not features. Brushed aluminum and touch navigation are great, but I just don’t see a big market for them when everyone else is racing down to under a hundred bucks.