Sony PSP price knocked down to $170 from $200: Time to get Sony to make it a decent e-book machine?
April 4, 2007 | 9:53 am
Eventually we’re probably talking about prices under $100, a level already reached by other manufacturers of games hardware.
Perhaps it’s time for Sony, other games-hardware makers, publishers, librarians and educators to get serious about games machines as e-book platforms.
Like vitamin-fortified cereal
Think of this as the e-equivalent of fortifying cereal with vitamins.
Many of today’s young people love games, librarians and the others want to reach out to them, and the above idea would be one book-friendly way to do it.
The touch screen issue
Granted, the Sony PSP lacks a touch screen and games players have different priorities from hand-held users and e-book readers. A somewhat sharper screen also wouldn’t hurt. Still, I suspect that hardware prices will drop to the point where we’re not talking about that much difference in costs. Simply put, book-reading capability should be there when buyers are ready to use it. Meanwhile Sony could do the best it could with existing hardware in striving to give us decent e-reading.
By “decent” capabilities, I mean at those at least at the level of the FBReader—with a simple interface for people wanting just the basics. I’m not happy with the current options offered by Sony and others.
And, no, reading books via a Web browser isn’t enough. I’m not one for proprietary e-book formats, but what if the PSP could handle Adobe and Mobipocket, among other options—in addition, of course, to HTML, RTF and whatever? Not to mention the IDPF standard and OpenReader.
Carrots and sticks
I know: Sony is Proprietary Central, but maybe enough public pressure could turn the company around on this issue. We’re talking PR here. Offer both carrots and sticks.
Same concept, by the way, could apply to others in games space, as I’ve more or less suggested above. Not to pick on Sony alone.