JAPANESE GIANT Sony has come out swinging in its bid to take on the e-reader market.
Sony has been out of the e-reader picture for some time now. While Amazon and Barnes & Noble sit on a glut of easily accessible content, Sony hasn't made any strong ties with content providers for its e-readers.
We reported last week that Amazon is due to ship its smaller, lighter and faster Kindle in late September. Now Sony is hitting back with not one, not two, but three e-readers.
Sony said the Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350, Reader Touch Edition PRS-650 and Reader Daily Edition PRS-950 all have an array of new features and enhancements like better touchscreen capabilities.
The PRS-350 has a 5-inch touchscreen and Sony claimed it doesn't blur the e-ink panel this time around. This has 2GB of memory and an SD slot, but no 3G or WiFi.
The re-vamped PRS-650 is smaller, faster and lighter than before, much like the Kindle 2.0. It has a bigger 6-inch touchscreen and plays MP3 or AAC audio. There's a dual expansion slot for SD or Sony's Memory-Stick Pro, which the company still refuses to let die.
The PRS-950 is only US-bound for now but actually sounds more interesting than the others. It's the most web-enabled and switched-on of the Sony Readers with WiFi and 3G support and a basic web browsing capability.
"The success of our previous line of Readers illustrates book lovers' demand for feature choices and full touch screens on their digital reading devices," said Phil Lubell, VP of digital reading at Sony.
"Today, we're answering their call by providing an entire line of stylish, full touch screen devices with a variety of features and price points," he continued.
Despite the marketing splash and the fact the kit looks good, Sony didn't give any indication of content deals to push its Readers to a wider world. Without publishing deals buyers will be looking at three very pretty but very blank e-reader screens.
The Pocket PRS-350 costs $179, the PRS-650 Touch is $229 and the Daily PRS-950 will be $299 when it comes out in November. The Reader Pocket and Touch Editions will be available in the UK from 17 September from Sony, Waterstone's, WHSmith and other high street retailers. µ
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