Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Sony Reader Models: PRS-300 And PRS-600

PRS-300: 5" screen, no audio, no card slots.

PRS-600: 6" touchscreen, audio, two card slots (SD/MS), touchscreen, stylus, no sidelighting.

Two PDF service documents for these models were leaked. Since this is the Internet, I was able to track them down to view even though Sony killed the URLs that had been posted.

The configuration of the 300 is a repudiation of all the careful thought that went into the design of the original 500, with that thinking refined for the 505. Apparently Sony caved in to the inability of people to figure out how to hold the unit by its lower left corner with the thumb over the page control. In this case, utter stupidity has been victorious in the marketplace once again.

The 600 is the 700 downgraded. The sidelighting has been removed. Perhaps this will increase the contrast of the screen, a point many people raised about the original 700. Everything else about the 700 is most likely otherwise retained, including things such as Search and taking Notes.

Both models will be for sale in the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Colors will be the usual Silver, Black, and Red for both models.

Neither model has any kind of wireless capability built-in.

Both models also reject the classic book-like fold-over cover in favor of shipping with protective sleeves. It's unknown if covers will be available as options. The left-side straight-edge design of both units seems to indicate that possibility -- as do embedded magnets in both. I guess not including a lush cover helps to lower the retail price.

Rumors are the 300 will hit the $199.00 price point. The 600 is rumored to be $300 or maybe even $349 (don't be surprised if it's $399, however; these are rumors!).

Both models will have Macintosh OS X compatibility. How this is accomplished is unknown. Perhaps through the Sony eLibrary software or firmware that allows simple drag-and-drop using Adobe Digital Editions. Or perhaps both: one for Sony's BBeB format, one for ePub format. Sony does not have an Apple-like record for uncomplexification.

I'm trying to get excited over these, but I can't. Static ePub is dead. eInk displays are dead.

If the mythical Apple Tablet does indeed materialize in September, both of these new Readers are dead too.

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