New Sony Readers

Sony is releasing two new Sony Readers this month.  Both are essentially variations on Sony’s present eReader: the Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition.

For the most part the new devices are what you expect from the Sony Reader.  There’s no wireless and the storage is small, but you can use an SD Card or Memory Stick.  The devices are meant for use with the Sony bookstore (now lowering prices to match Amazon), but they are more open than the Kindle and support the ePub format.

The Reader Touch is the same size and price as a Kindle 2, but trades in the wireless capabilities for a touchscreen.  Touch gestures are used for turning pages, writing on a virtual keyboard, and navigation.  For a customer choosing between the Reader Touch and a Kindle, it would basically amount to how much they wanted the touch screen.

The Reader Pocket has, I think, a much higher potential to steal away Kindle customers.  The screen is only 5 inches, but Sony has priced the device at a competitive $199.  Filling the niche of a budget, entry-level reader, the Reader Pocket could definitely reach at to those who haven’t yet considered buying an eReader.

Here are how the devices stack up to the Kindle:

Kindle 2 Reader Pocket Reader Touch
Display Size 6 inches 5 inches 6 inches
Wireless 3G/Whispernet No No
Touch Screen No No Yes
ePub No Yes Yes
Price $299 $199 $299

Google is Giving Away Sony Readers

Google Book Store

Google Book Store

Google is holding a sweepstakes called the 10 Days in Google Books Game.  For every day of the contest, Google will choose 3 winners to receive Sony Readers.  In order to play, you need to first answer 5 simple trivia questions and then write a 50 word essay about eReaders.

The contest seems to be Google’s attempt to advertise their eBook offering.  Right now, Google Books can hardly be considered a hot spot of activity.  Giving out Google Books compatible Sony Readers is one way to get people interested.  Also, the trivia questions involved are too simple to actually create a challenge, but they do showcase the capabilities of Google’s book archive.  Every answer can be found by clicking a link to some online book or using Google’s book search capabilities.

You are allowed to enter once a day.  Winners will be announced in 2-3 months.

Sony has lost the battle of the e-book

sony readerThe Sony Reader is a worthy opponent to the Kindle, however Sony has made some fundamental mistakes which will ultimately mean it will lose the battle for the e-book.

Sony’s chief executive, Sir Howard Stringer, noticed how Apple integrated is software and hardware to create a better customer experience, he added that Sony wants to make it as easy as possible to download or stream music, films and electronic data to all Sony electronic devices, from the PlayStation 3 to the Bravia Televisions. Sir Howard Stringer wants 90% of Sony devices to by wirelessly networked within 2 years.

However, Sir Howard Stringer vision seems to have fallen on deaf ears in the Sony Reader division. The Sony PRS-500 Reader had a commanding lead in the e-reader industry, but last November the Kindle was unveiled by Amazon. Amazon had done exactly what Sir Howard Stringer wanted to do with the Sony Reader, the Kindle was wirelessly networked to the Amazon book store, the hardware and software acting as one. Most importantly however, it made it easy for the consumer to buy books, something the Sony Reader never really achieved with its reader.

Back in 2006 when the Sony Reader was launched, Sir Howard wanted to let world know that this is sort of device that the new Sony wanted to make: both innovative and well-connected, but it was Amazon that showed them how it was really done.

Book selling is at the core of Amazon’s business, this is another advantage that Amazon has over Sony, it can leverage publishers to release books on its platform before any other, that’s something Sony would find very difficult to do. There are currently over 145,000 titles in the Kindle bookstore, the Sony bookstore has 45,000, that’s another area where Sony falls short.

The Kindle also offers so much more than the Sony Reader, daily newspapers, blogs, RSS subscriptions all without the need for a PC, with hacks you can even turn the Kindle into an email reader, an instant messenger and a web browser. You can buy a book any time and anywhere as long as you have a wireless connection, you cant do that on the Sony Reader.

Sony has consistently declined to release sales figures, which just might tell you something. Whilst Amazon hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with sales figures wither, we have learned that in its first 10 months the Kindle has sold over 240,000 devices, which isn’t a figure to be ashamed of, in-fact it blew most analyst estimates out of the water. To put it in context, the iPod first-year sales came to 360,000 devices, the Kindle is on course to match that figure.

Sony is now playing catchup, Sony’s Steve Haber has said that Sony is “open” to the idea of making the Reader a wireless device, but if you ask me, it may already be too late for them. Unless Sony’s next e-book reader is radically different to the current model and offers the same functionallity of the Kindle, im afriad its goodbye Sony Reader.

Free $50 Credit at Sony Ebook Store

Sony eBook Reader

I know that many Kindle owners do own or have owned the Sony eBook reader so this coupon code will be useful and it comes just in time for the new year!

For those with an account in the eBook Store from Sony, do the following:

1) Log into your account
2) Click on ‘Account’ on the top right
3) Click on ‘Redeem A Code’
4) Enter code “HOLIDAYGIFT” (case sensitive)

Voila, $50 in your account for free books.

Note: This Gift Code will also work with a newly opened account. If you’ve never registered your Sony eBook reader, now is a great time to do it.

Source: SlickDeals.net

Walt Mossberg on the Kindle

Walt MossbergIt appears that things are not well over at AllThingsD. Walt Mossberg, who is the principal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, reviewed Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader last month. Now this was surprising slow out of the gate for Mossberg so what happened? First lets see what Walt had to say about this Amazon Kindle first.

Mossberg in his review called the Kindle “mediocre” and “marred by annoying flaws” he even goes as far as saying “It is bigger and clunkier to use than the Sony Reader, whose second version has just come out at $300”. In his video review he also says there are too many flaws to list. You can watch the video of Walt Mossberg’s review of the Amazon Kindle at the end of this post. However he does also say in his review that Amazon hit the nail on the head with the shopping experience, which is hardly surprising seeing as Amazon.com is the largest bookstore in the world. All in all its seems that Mossberg is impressed with the idea and the online shopping expirience Amazon have created, but is not impressed by the device itself saying it is too big and clunky.

However, recently news came out from another tech columnist that Mossberg “was only interested in reviewing it if he could be first. When Steven Levy got it first Walt threw a tantrum.”. Wow, Steven Levy is a Newsweek tech reviewer who reviewed the Kindle a whole week before Walt. Steven Levy and David Pogue of the New York Times (Who was also amongst the first to review the iPhone) both got exclusive reviews, they also happened to gave the Kindle glowing reviews.

If that doesn’t make you wonder where his mind was at the time of the review, Mossberg also gives three iPod shout-outs in the first two paragraphs, too bad it wants a review for the iPod. C’mon Walt, we know you are getting old, but try to focus on the job in hand!

As promised, here is the video review;