Sony Speeds Up Reader Line, Adds Touchscreen To All Models

A new season brings new gadgets and one of them is a refreshed line up of Sony Readers (the ones we have uncovered earlier this summer). If  you tend to go through your electronic toys like you exchange your cars or gloves (old saying I know), Sony wants you to pick up a lighter, E-Ink Pearl improved Reader that will have a very nice refresh rate and you won’t need to wait a whole second to turn your page. Oh yea, touch functionality is now adopted on all three models from Pocket Reader to the Daily version (PRS-350, 650 and 950). According to Rachel Meltz of the AP, “The new e-reader uses an infrared sensor to read finger swipes or taps from an included stylus. Before, the device’s screen needed a special overlay, which reduces clarity.”

Please make sure you check out those links or at least read the press release below as there has been many improvements to this latest generation of Readers.

Another item of interest in this launch is where Forbes notes that Steve Haber, “who spearheaded digital reading at Sony, proudly referring to Amazon chief exec Jeff Bezos’ comments to USA Today that the Kindle doesn’t use a touchscreen because capacitive technology increases glare on the device’s display–a problem that Sony has apparently solved. “Amazon said it was impossible. Clearly that’s not the case,” says Haber. “It can be done.”

Pictures courtesy of engadget.

The only 3G model is your Daily Reader which now has a WiFi connectivity and even a browser for light internet inquiries of yours. A basic web browser is finally a response Each Reader features new E Ink Pearl with 2 Gigs of on board memory. Pricing is still not too competitively logical (starting from $179 to $299), however remember you are paying a premium for a piece of nice hardware. Anyways, check out the press release below and Sony we expect you to wow us maybe later for CES with a new Reader that has amazing OLED display (black n white E Ink is so 90s don’t you think?) with super awesome and dynamic touch GUI (nothing boring, remember we like flashy stuff). We will love you forever more after we have one like that in our hands…we will keep dreaming for now.


The new Reader Pocket Edition and the new Reader Touch Edition are available immediately, and the new Reader Daily Edition will be available this November in time for the holidays. The Reader Pocket and Touch Editions, as well as available accessories such as AC adapters, cases and covers with reading lights, are available now at SonyStyle.com and SonyStyle stores. Check out this gallery of new Sony Reader photos courtesy of Sony Electronics.

We found excellent hands-on perspectives, galleries, and musings about the latest Sony Reader strategy at engadget, PC Magazine, Forbes, Financial Times, TWICE, and the NY Times. Please leave comments with any other reviews of interest.

Edit: Further additions by Christopher MacManus.

Press Release


New Readers Feature Sony’s Unique Touch Screens with Anti-Glare Technology for the Optimal Digital Book Reading Experience

SAN DIEGO, September 1, 2010 ⎯ Continuing to provide book lovers with the most natural, immersive digital reading experience, Sony today announced the launch of its beautifully-designed new line of Reader digital books, including the new Reader Pocket Edition™, Reader Touch Edition™ and, in the US, the wireless Reader Daily Edition. The new line of Readers features a host of new design and technology enhancements that make them the perfect device for any reader’s lifestyle.

“Today, we’re excited to announce not just the availability of the Reader Touch and Pocket Editions in the countries we already serve but also expansion of the Reader line to previously untapped markets,” said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division. “We take a thoughtful approach to country expansion, including Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan and China, working with local bookstores to ensure content is compatible, relevant and in the appropriate language for each market.”

The new Reader models bring a fresh level of flare to e-reading with colorful, elegant aluminum designs and all new, highly responsive touch screens. In addition to the new devices in the US, Sony announced an improved web-enabled Reader™ Store and a set of applications for iPhone and the Android Marketplace to extend the Reader experience across multiple portable devices.

“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, vice president of Digital reading at Sony Electronics. “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.”

What’s New
The new generation of Readers builds on the popularity of last year’s line. For 2010 Sony has restyled all three of the devices, reduced their size and weight, and made new, innovative touch screens available across the entire line.

Touch Screen for Everyone
Based on the popularity of the full touch screen on its previous Reader Touch and Daily Edition models, Sony equipped the entire line of new Readers with improved, optical touch screen technology designed specifically for digital reading*. The new, first-to-market technology enhances ease of use and increases reading clarity, creating an immersive reading experience for consumers. Book lovers can now escape into their favorite books with the lightest swipe of a finger or stylus pen.

Better E Ink Displays
All three devices utilize E Ink Pearl electronic paper displays, which delivers a paper-like display that is readable in direct sunlight. The screens offer a high contrast ratio with 16 levels of grayscale, ensuring that text and images are crisp and easy to read.

A Reader Pocket Edition that Will Wow You
The new Reader Pocket Edition sports a five-inch, full touch screen and a smart, lightweight design that’s easy to slip into a purse or jacket pocket for convenient, on-the-go reading. It is available in chic colors, including silver and pink. It has 2 GB of onboard memory, which lets you carry up to 1,200 of your favorite books, and retails for about $179.

A New Reader Touch Edition: More of Everything Readers Love
The new Reader Touch Edition features a six-inch full touch screen and an intuitive design with 2 GB of onboard memory. In addition, it offers dual expansion slots for up to 32GB of additional memory and the ability to play MP3 and AAC audio files. It’s available in black or red for about $229.

A Reader Daily Edition that Adds WiFi and New Web Features
The Reader Daily Edition provides a wireless connection to Sony’s Reader Store from most of the U.S. via AT&T’s 3G network, the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network. Now, it also provides Wi-Fi and basic Web browsing capability on its large, seven-inch full touch screen. A host of pre-loaded practical and reading-based URLs will provide direct access to optimized, text-based sites designed to add a new dimension to the reading experience. The Daily Edition also includes 2 GB of memory and expansion slots for additional memory (up to 32 GB). It comes in silver and will sell for about $299.

Additional New Features Across the Entire Line
New features allow for easier reading of PDF or personal documents. Intuitive content zoom, adjustable contrast and brightness control, as well as automatic multiple page creation will make documents designed for a standard sheet of paper easier to read on a smaller screen. Also, personalized standby screen options will allow users to use their favorite photos as a screen saver and the collections functionality will allow them to group their favorite reads.

In addition, the new Reader line is more global than ever, offering users the ability to look up words and phrases with the built in New Oxford American Dictionary, Second Edition and Oxford Dictionary of English eDictionaries, as well as 10 translation dictionaries in languages such as French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. Wordsmiths across the globe can now create “word logs” to track the words they’ve looked up per dictionary book or periodical in chronological order, while quickly switching between dictionaries.

More Content on More Devices
In addition to announcing a new generation of Readers, Sony has also made several changes and improvements to Reader Store. More than 1.2 million titles are available in the U.S. Sony remains committed to providing an extensive offering of newspaper and magazine content for single issue purchase or subscription within the newsstand area of the store. Soon to be available titles include The Guardian, The Harvard Business Review, Newsday, Publishers Weekly, San Diego Union-Tribune and more. The store’s Library Finder application continues to provide easy access to local public libraries to borrow eBooks for free. To make choosing a book easier, the New York Times Bestsellers list will be featured alongside the Reader Store’s bestsellers. By next month, integration with Goodreads will permit the inclusion of reader reviews from that site and a new web-based architecture for the store will allow standard browser access to accounts.

With Reader™ Desktop Edition (formerly Reader Library) for Apple’s Mac OS X and Microsoft® Windows® and Reader™ Mobile Edition for Apple iPhone and Google Android-based smartphones, users can now synchronize their reading among multiple devices. These free applications, available later this year, will offer an intuitive digital reading experience with an elegant interface and access to Sony’s Reader Store for browsing and purchasing content. Reader Desktop Edition also includes the ability to easily manage content for the non-wireless Reader models.

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