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Sony refreshes e-reader family

by Sarah Griffiths on 1 September 2010, 17:19

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE)

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Sony has launched two new touch screen e-readers in the UK, but both lack the Wi-Fi connectivity of their digi book peers.

The Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition have been redesigned, reduced in size and weight and also boast responsive touch screens.

Both models come with 2GB of onboard memory with room for 1,200 books. Sony said the touch screens make the devices easier to use, boost reading clarity and allow users to swipe pages. The screens also use E Ink Pearl technology for a paper-like display with 16 levels of grayscale.

The Reader Pocket Edition boasts a 5 inch touch screen with 2GB of onboard memory to store 1,200 books and is available in pink or silver for around $179, while the Reader Touch Edition sports a larger 6 inch touch screen and also has 2 GB of internal memory with dual expansion slots for 32GB of extra memory and the ability to play MP3 files. It comes in black and silver flavours for about $229.

However, neither include Wi-Fi connectivity, unlike the recently launched the third generation Kindle from Amazon, which sold out in just five days after its launch.

Both the Sony readers let users read PDFs with content zoom. They feature a personalised standby screen, while the ‘collection' functionality lets book worms group their favourite reads. They also include built- in dictionaries including 10 translation dictionaries.

Sony has also bolstered its Reader Store which now offers 1.2m books plus newspapers and magazines but the e-readers will support multiple publishing formats so readers can also buy and borrow titles from other e-bookstores and local libraries.

The two devices will be available from 17 September in the UK.

However, Sony has also rolled out its largest and priciest e-reader in the US only. The silver Reader Daily Edition is the only e-reader in the family that has Wi-Fi connectivity and basic web browsing capability on its large 7 inch screen and is also the priciest at $299. Users of the device will be able to connect to Sony's Reader Store via AT&T's 3G network.

Sony has also developed a set of applications for iPhones and Android handsets so e-reader owners can read across 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. 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," said Phil Lubell, vice president of Digital reading at Sony Electronics.



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