Sony Refreshes Reader Family With New Screens And Bodies

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.