Sony's New Readers and Library Announcement
Sony had a big press conference today, not only for the new regular ($200) and touch-screen ($300) ebook readers already announced, but also for a big new $400 touch-screen reader with always-on 3G Internet courtesy of AT&T free of charge ala the Kindle.
Gizmodo has the rundown, but here's the highlights: The 3G device will be called the "daily", and will be available in December. The always on 3G will only have access to the Sony eBook store (so far), so no web browser like the Kindle(?). The new device is bigger than the Kindle (7"), but smaller than the Kindle DX, priced between them and, unlike them, touch screen so you don't have to deal with those annoying buttons. Also it's much purtier than the Kindle. And, of course, all the new Readers reads ePub books, like those sold at Fictionwise, Books-On-Board and Powell's World of Books. Unlike the Kindle models.
More big news is that the Sony eBook store has made deals with a number of public libraries, including my own New York Public Library, to have automatic access to library ebooks from the Sony software. All I have to do is type in my library card number and it will download the book, which will automatically expire and delete itself, with no possibilities of late fees. Normally, I'm against DRM'd books that delete themselves, but hey, library books are free, so who really cares. I'll take free books that delete themselves over no books.
Sony also announced some kind of literary Twitter service, which strikes me as very odd. Something to keep an eye on, anyway.
Of course, if the 3G Sony Reader was the same price as the Kindle 2, then we would really have a horse race on our hands. As it is, it's still exciting to see that Sony is trying to innovate and staying in the market, and the $200 reader (when it's finally released) I think is still a killer device.
Also, whither the Mac version of the Sony software already??