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Reader in its natural habitat

It can read the Da Vinci Code!

Image source: Sony Electronics Inc.
Sony's eBook reader slated to launch on Halloween for $350

Sony today released its PRS-500 Reader Portable Reader System pre-orders at, which will hit retail stores by the end of October.  The device has been delayed several times, with the last volley of delays occuring just this past July.


The PRS-500 tablet-like shape features a high-resolution display designed to mimic traditional paper and is readable even in bright sunlight. With battery life equivalent to roughly 7,500 continuous page turns, readers can store and display personal documents in Adobe PDF format, RTF, text, JPEG photos and selected RSS feeds from blogs and news sites.


Sony today also announced its CONNECT eBook store with more than 10,000 eBook titles available. And for a limited time, when a Reader is registered on the CONNECT site, people will receive a $50 credit towards the purchase eBooks online.


“Today, we’re writing a new chapter in digital technology for reading,” said Ron Hawkins, Sony Electronics’ vice president of Portable Reader Systems marketing. “Easy and enjoyable to use, the Reader fulfills the promise of electronic reading in a way that no other device has been able to do.  Not intended to replace traditional books, but to supplement them, the Sony Reader allows people to take a library of books and other reading material with them wherever they go.”


The Sony Reader will retail for about $350 at SonyStyle and Borders stores and comes complete with USB cable, a wall charger, the CONNECT Reader software and a protective soft cover.  More information about Sony Reader is available at its official site.

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Smaller than expected
By lemonadesoda on 9/27/2006 5:27:14 AM , Rating: 2
This thing is much smaller than I expected. Look at the headphone socket and the mini-USB. The thing is about the same size as an external USB Floppy drive.

I agree with other posters, the memory could easily be larger... and for the price, one would expect to be able to store a whole catalogue of TECHNICAL documents (with graphics) in PDF format.

Not sure how much better this thing is than a VGA screened PDA, other than battery performance due to e-paper and no backlight.

I'd be interested to hear how legible this thing is under low light conditions, or when using a reading light, e.g. on an airplane. If it has the same reflection problem as the SONY "ultra black" (read very shiney reflective TFT screens) then I'm not interested.

*** CRITICISM 1 ***

There are WAY TOO MANY buttons on this device. Just compare it to, say, an HP x2490 PDA. If you can have PDA functionality with just a few buttons and touch sensitive screen, then SONY should have implemented something equally "neat". In the 21st century, consumers expect iPOD style simplicity, not millions of micro-buttons from hell.

*** CRITICISM 2 ***

All the "sharp" connectors are at the bottom of the device... so likely to catch against your clothes (sweaters, ties, etc). They should been side or top mounted.


I like that SONY is trying to innovate. I still think, that on paper, the price/performance ratio of a good PDA is far better. And a spare battery for the PDA gives you approx equal life if just reading PDFs.

However, e-paper will take some years to get right (just like TFT screens) and progress isn't made without starting somewhere.

I like the idea of a new e-book format containing pictures and MP3. Great for kids. Reading a book becomes reading, listening and looking at pictures. Might encourage them away from videos and the games consoles for 5 minutes.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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