The Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300 is now selling from Amazon and Buy.com for just $139.95. The Sony readers are normally considered the third of the “Big 3” e-readers (behind Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook) … perhaps “Big 4” if enough people actually start reading on Apple’s iPad.
This follows an interesting trend as e-reader prices seem to be coming down. The original Kindle sold for $399, which was reduced to $359, then $299, and is currently $259. There are now several competitors in the $150 range as well. Will this bring more people into the e-reader and e-book fold? Or do people prefer to pay a little more for e-readers with more features? Personally, I like to see options available at different price points.
The Sony reader has an easy-on-the-eyes 5″ e-Ink screen (note that the K2 and Nook’s screens are 6″ diagonal). It comes with 512 MB of memory (enough for several hundred e-books), and boasts the 2-week battery life that e-Ink displays are known for. It reads ePub, PDF, and text files. It is quite small and light: at only 4.2 x 6.2 x 0.4 inches and 7.8 ounces, it is smaller and lighter than most paperback novels and should slip into a sport coat pocket.
It does without some of the features of its more expensive siblings, as it does not include a touch screen, keyboard, wireless downloads (you attach a USB cable to your computer), expandable memory card slot, a built-in dictionary, or the ability to play music or show pictures.
You also should consider that the main avenue to purchase e-books for the device will be Sony’s E-Reader Store, which has a lower selection and higher prices than Amazon or B&N. On the other hand, many bestsellers are being sold for the same price everywhere now, and it can read ePub files from other sources (including libraries).
I don’t think I would prefer it over my Kindle 2, even for the lower price, but for someone looking for a very small, light, and inexpensive e-reader, it’s certainly a serious contender.
2 Responses to “Sony Reader Pocket now $140”
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About the only thing I don’t like about my Kindle is the size (approximately 8 x 5 1/2 in its case). The Sony dimensions are smaller (6 1/4 x 4 1/4) but are still a bit large to go into a shirt pocket. It doesn’t quite make it to pocket size, unless you have big pockets (cargo slacks or maybe the inside pocket of a sports coat).
I really like my Palm Tungsten E2 (PDA) and even though this technology is obsolete, I still carry it. Besides lots of personal information, pictures and a few apps I’ve written, I also have several translations of the bible and a good bible reader program. Its size (about 4 1/4 x 3) goes into my shirt pocket quite nicely. My company supplied black berry has too much company installed security built in and unless I can justify with a good business reason, I cannot download apps to my black berry. Fortunately, there are some good free eReaders around that can be installed on my Palm pda. (I recently installed MobiReader on my Palm.)
I think the next huge advance in e-readers isn’t color (which would be cool, but not necessarily fundamental), it’s foldable screens. The big problem with all portable devices now isn’t really miniaturizing the components, it’s the size of the screen. Anything small enough to slip into a pocket (like an iPhone) is too small to read novels on comfortably. But imagine a phone-sized device, with a screen that flips open a couple of times to give you 4x the area — K2 sized or larger. THAT would truly be a quantum leap for e-readers.
(Of course, a thousand years from now, I have people using tiny computers that display holographic projections in Right Ascension … but I still think that’s some ways away.) 🙂