Wireless reader with seven-inch screen: A TeleRead report from Sony’s news conference in New York
August 25, 2009 | 10:24 am
By Paul Biba
Also see Sony announces $399 wireless reader, Sony’s wireless ‘Reader Daily Edition’ and Sony inks content pacts with e-book stores—and indie brick-and-mortar stores: Libraries mentioned, too. Below images of the unit—with a seven-inch, 16-grayscale screen with dual-page capability—are from gdgt.com. Sony originated the reader photos, apparently. – D.R.
10:05 am: Let us into the room. No chairs so we are all standing or sitting on the floor. Met Steve Haber of Sony and he said hello, but wouldn’t comment on a wireless reader. As expected! However, Steve was carrying something in a blue plush bag and wouldn’t tell me what it was.
10:20 am: Everybody jockeying for position as there are only a few tables where you can put a computer. Pencil and paper are best for this conference, but I was lucky to get a table space. I always bring my Moleskine, but it’s sort of funny to see some of the laptop people who have nothing to write with.
10:30 am: Getting started. Dr. Paul Eclair, President of NYPL. They are announcing a partnership with Sony. Free content from the library will be available on Sony readers. NYPL. org is the most used of any cultural site in New York. Second most heavily used library website in the world. 40.000 titles available through Overdrive, 250,000 ebooks downloaded last year.
Steve Haber (photo), President, Sony Digital Business Reader Division. Talks generally about why ebooks and why digital reading. To make ereading happen it is all about access content, experience, and affordability. Over 8,500 retail outlets in the US carrying the reader this holiday season. Talks about the two Sony readers that have already been announced. Nothing new. Launching 3.0 library software today, including a Mac edition. Ebook store will have a library finder which will locate a library near you that will make ebooks available on the Sony Reader. Powells Books, American Bookseller’s Association, Net Galley and Books on Board will open ebook stores.
Now comes the Daily Edition with 7″ display. That’s what was in the plush bag. 3G, touchscreen will be available in December for $399..
The Sony Daily Edition will have 3G access through AT&T and it will initially connect only with Sony’s ebook store. It will have magazines and newspapers as will as books and there will be no monthly fees or transaction charges. Steve would not discuss any of the content deals that Sony has made. The Reader will have a touch screen. In portrait mode it will have 30-35 lines of text and it has 16 levels of grayscale. It will hold up to 1,000 books and will have expansion slots(plural in the press release) for memory cards. Steve specifically said that Sony is not making any European announcement at this time.
Now he announces “Words Move Me” a new site where one can post favorite passages from books and share feelings about them. Will be a penel discussion about it with Ella Morton of Rocketboom, Trip Adler founder of Scribd, Mesilssa Chapman, Blogger of NYC Mom’s Blog. This will happen at noon.
Analysis: it is good to finally see the wireless reader, however we have almost no information about it. Clearly Sony has a number of deals yet to make because at it’s initial launch it will only connect to the Sony store. This leave the Kindle in the pole position, as the Kindle has its own browser and can connect to a number of free ebook sites. We’ll just have to wait and see. What is clear, however, is that Sony is maintaining its commitment to the ebook market. Not only with new devices, but with its connection to libraries. This is an area where they are far ahead of the Kindle and the connection with the New York Public Library certainly gives them credibility.