A Second Look at the Sony 13.3 Inch e-Reader
May
23

A Second Look at the Sony 13.3 Inch e-Reader

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Sony 13.3 inch e-Reader

The Sony 13.3 inch e-Reader is going to usher in a brand new era of high quality e-Paper that allows for a true PDF experience. Sony has exclusivity over this brand new technology they created and worked on, in conjunction with e INK. On the first day of SID Display Week, we were walked through some of the core features, but was that really enough? We received hundreds of emails, comments and messages asking us to look deeper into what this has to offer, we have heard your pleas, and will show you mercy. I won’t rehash the specs of the hardware, you can read all about it HERE. There are some very exciting elements to this device, that no one but us has managed to capture.

The PDF experience is the main attraction of the 13.3 inch e-Reader and gives you a true, full page experience. Obviously you can take notes and make annotations by either writing with the stylus or the full virtual keyboard. If you make a note, you can save that page as an independent file. If you have a big PDF document and make all sorts of edits, you can save it as a “Workspace” into its own PDF document. This insures you have your virgin file, with no edits and then your changed document with all of your notes.

If you have a large document with many notes, you can actually initiate a new feature that will allow you to look up all of the notes or changes you made on the document. A search feature will bring up a list on the right hand side, listing every single change you have ever made. If you tap on any of them, the page will open.

There was some confusion over the Stylus or Digitizer that came bundled with the Sony 13.3 inch e-Reader. Some people were saying the screen would not work without it and there was an air of uncertainty. I found out that you can do everything via touch. The stylus is useful for drawing notes or making changes. You can turn the pages and interact with every single menu with your hand. There is a small button on on the stylus, that acts as an eraser. Click on a body of text or notes, and you can delete it.

There is a nice fully featured internet browser, that is accessible via a WIFI connection. Browsing the internet does not cause a massive amount of page-refresh issues, that normally plague lower-end devices. This might be perfect for people who check news websites, such as Good e-Reader!

e Ink was very clear that the firmware and overall design might change on the commercial release. I noticed it did not currently have EPUB support, which means you will not be able to load in your own books. Likely, we will see Sony’s own eBook store loaded on the device, and will allow users to purchase eBooks directly from their regions store. Currently Sony has been opening a number of new online stores in Europe, UK, Australia and many other markets. It would make sense for them to incorporate this into their technologies.

Currently, the prototype is at many different events during the next few months. Sony is listening to peoples opinions and incorporating changes into the firmware and hardware. My suggestions were to hot-key the stylus eraser button to do different things. As an example, it would be nice to turn to the next page with a click. I also suggested the ability to pinch and zoom. It seems that you cant make the fonts any larger or increase your zoom levels. This would be essential, as some people prefer bigger fonts or like to focus on specific bits of information.

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Michael Kozlowski (4317 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to michael@goodereader.com


  • ereader

    “It seems that you cant make the fonts any larger or increase your zoom levels.” this means that it would only show the 100 percent view level of any document, then what is the purpose of such a large screen coz the minor details would still be in need of special zoom levels as are provided on Onyx boox m92 which has the best set of tools for zooming other than pinch and zoom style. why would one just pay the huge price to buy this device when it would again fail to benefit from a large screen size.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    well the firmware is not polished yet, Sony has asked us to provide them with a list of changes and we will forward them to the powers that be. If you have a list of things you want fixed or enhanced, let us know

  • mutantmagnet

    Awesome that it will come with a full fledged browser and the screen is large. It probably is too large for many people but I’ll be getting this as long as it isn’t hampered by bugs.

  • Coa

    Finally something new from Sony. Any chance on frontlight?
    Hope that 7 and 9.7 incher are coming soon.

  • http://tinta-e.blogspot.com Juan Luis Chulilla

    This mobius thing seems better and better. it’s maybe the start of a new era for the company which created e-ink based ereaders.

    However, mobius has a very serious limitation that can be observed in the video: introducing text using the virtual keyboard is not practical beyond a couple of words.

    There is a USB port. If it would be possible to connect a USB keyboard to it, the entering text limitation would disappear once and for all.

    There is a persistent problem on the design of devices dedicated to students, researchers, etc: once and again it is forgotten that such users don’t only have to read a lot, but to write a lot too

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    don’t expect any 9.7 e-readers from any company of note, can’t tell you why, but don’t expect it. They are a good size for a tablet, but not an e-Reader. For a larger screen device you need something that is properly A5

  • Estara

    This looks so cool, but I hope they’re aware that image-heavy pdfs can have huge filesizes. So they better have an ability to extend memory AND enough RAM so they can load and work with multi-MB pdfs.

    And honestly, if they support other file-formats, this would be the perfect electronic manga reader.

    Thanks for the in-depth current look, in any case.

  • Peter Bettens

    This thing has possibilities for teachers and pupils in secondary schools.
    Should haves: possibility to add own epub and pdf, why not allow apps from the android store? (a lot of applications like a calendar, diary, homework follow up … are developed in android and integrated with a windows version in school software – if there is 3/4G and GOOD WIFI this might not be needed.
    Would be nice: a frontlight or sidelight (since the area to cover).
    I will buy one if the epub and pdf upload is possible and the price is sub 300 Euro.
    I use my Galaxy Note 1 a lot at school, but a lightweight device with a large screen and long battery life could make my and my students rucsack a lot lighther.
    Teacher from Belgium

  • Roger Smith

    Could you please request support for cloud sync, Office Word/Excel, EPUB and other ebook formats? CBR as well. I want to make good use of that large screen with images.

  • Wisniewski

    I wish it could be connected with computer as an independent display via USB. It would be relief for all people with Computer Vision Syndrome.

    If it is not possible I am second to connect a USB keyboard to it. With both it will be my ideal device.

  • Johannes Wasmer

    Michael,

    thanks for that enlightening report. In the video, at 07:15 you say “It should be out by the summer.” The Sony representative you talked with in the “Hands on” video said at 02:10 “They’re commercializing this product at the end of the year.” Over at the blog “Open Parachute” it says: “Despite this early announcement and demonstration of devices it will not be available commercially for about a year.”

    This range of release date is pretty wide. Could your research garner any confidence that Sony really will get this to the market in 2013? Thanks for the info.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    e-Ink told us that Sony is running trials in Japan right now with a number of schools, based on their feedback on what features they want, Sony will finalize the firmware. The hardware itself will likely not undergo a design shift and will focus on firmware updates. I bet around September Sony will file something with the FCC and likely will come out in October to take advantage of the November and December Sales.

  • Albert Stokes

    Amazing Device!

    I am looking for a used Kindle DX to read engineering files and books in pdf format. But this is so much better. People are saying the market for this is small but I think it is very, very big.

    Every college student and maybe even upper level secondary school student is a potential customer.

  • augusto

    the usefulness for students and academics in middle and high income countries is clear… but this would be an amzingly useful product for humanitarian and development organizations with active field work is unparlleled; not to mention for students in places where electricity is scarce or inconsistent and textbooks are inexistent. Short battery life tablets are practically useless in these settings unfortunately. I hope the product is affordable to do the maximum good – or at least that there are two versions or tiered pricing for different world zones/income levels…

  • Reinoud

    Well, as already mentioned above and from my own experiences using the Sony TR-2, email and a form of data-planner are really missing out. It would be SUPER if those could be implemented. Even though a web browser is implemented and ppl. could use web based forms, it isn’t handy if you don’t have internet around and want to write an email!

    Also to be able to attach a keyboard would be great for text writing esp. now with the flat portable keyboards around. The edited files could then be rendered with LaTeX or lout
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lout_%28software%29) and displayed as an pdf, that would be great since more academic students write in those formats. I wouldn’t go for the `office’ way since that is too fidly and too error-prone; the format changes also too often and remember you don’t have a mouse!

    Oh and as for formats, ebook formats like epub etc. would be nice.

    I really really love this e-reader and i’ve been searching around and looking for just such a device for some years now. Glad Sony comes up with this!

  • sos_sifou

    I agree that a keyboard is a brilliant idea ! But, you forget that a USB keyboard need electric power to work, and that power is sucked from the e-reader USB port. With such a thin profile, they can’t use a bigger battery, even though, using USB powered devices on an e-reader will drain it battery in less than few hours, witch is the key point of an e-reader, it should work for days not hours ? otherwise we can use a tablet instead (9 to 12 hours).
    I think that e-readers are mainly for reading and consuming information, not to be used a productive tool, I can think of using an e-reader just like a book and type on my computer at the same time !
    Highlights can be very useful too ! starting from a highlight on the book and then developing the idea on computer is a much better approach to be productive.

  • Fernando

    The target is business people and/or teachers (as I heard in one of your videos)… They would definitively blast the market if they could interface it directly with a video port (screen/beamers)… it could be used for showing your notes on business/educational presentations.

  • Henry

    I would most definitely buy one if the device can be connected to a PC so that I can use it as a monitor. I know many people who would do just the same. Those who say there’s no market for such a product simply need to google “e ink PC monitor” and see how many people are dying to purchase it to lessen their eye strain.

  • Dennis

    In my opinion, to keep the costs down and to have a reasonable performance, the following things are desired (can be in low cost version):
    1. Should support all the major formats required in school and office.
    2. It should be regarded as an alternative to text book, which means no additional frills of a tablet. The only thing it should have is an upload and download interface to a computer via USB/Bluetooth.
    3. Active digitiser needs to super smooth and with zero lag or least annoying lag for faster note taking abilities.
    4. Editing features should be top notch.

  • Krishna Mohan Kandula

    I think instead of keyboard they can include a handwriting recognizer and split screen to display two different pages of same book or different books is more useful for comparative study in landscape mode. very eagerly waiting for its release

  • Deokjae Jeong

    KEYBOARD support is the most important feature that will determine my purchase decision.

  • HurryToTheUS

    I would buy this in a second along with about 200 other engineers / scientists I work with…

  • Tommi

    With a lot of features, there’s a risk of raising the price point too high. I understand how people would want to have a simple browser and e-mail over Wi-Fi and 4G, but I would be happy with just a reader with a USB-connection. Two models, maybe?

    Anyway, for academic/scientific work the size is perfect, but annotation tools must be polished to make the user experience shine. Besides the input (drawing’s nice, but I’d focus on the virtual keyboard and handwriting recognition), also the exporting must be well thought out. Besides a .pdf with the notes, there should be optional export formats, at least a plain text file. Integration with reference management software (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reference_management_software) would be even better, but copy-paste from text will do the trick.

  • l

    well, the battery can be in the keyboard it self.

  • kb

    The ability to use a wireless keyboard, or phone as keyboard would be a cool alternative also.

  • papierpicker

    Until the refresh rate on Eink devices improves significantly the note taking abilities are going to be the same nightmare it is on other similar devices. I’d like to hear some feedback on this.

  • Anonymous

    How does the full page turn speed compare to the Kindle DX?

  • Reader

    1. Epub
    2. Make it so the pen loop is removable (if it isn’t already)

  • mrodent33

    gimme gimme gimme! money no object… when when when?

  • SergioNova

    Immediately, such a device DOES have to work with CBR and CBZ. Later, a colour version would certainly be welcome.

  • Sid Adams

    hi, I would love this device! There is now some devices selling on Amazon. It seems there is a Japanese and US version, ie, the Japanese version, has a Japanese interface, the other English. Is this correct? I haven’t been able to clarify this point with the seller on Amazon,

  • Adrian

    Yes, Henry, you’re absolutely right. Teachers, writers, editors, proofreaders — anyone working over extended periods of time over the same almost static document — would be happy to have a e-Ink + keyboard combo. When are the producers going to realize that this potential market exists?
    Adrian

  • Flying Octopus

    Well, Sony has closed the reader store. Say good bye.