Archive for sony
Sony has been selling e-readers and eBooks since 2004 and they were the first mainstream company who made a serious powerplay to cultivate the industry. Their successes and failures over the years acted as a playbook for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo to enter the the fray and immediately make an impact. Sony eventually got nudged out of the business due to the prices of e-readers coming down, to a such a point, that it was not financially viable anymore to continue. In February 2014 Sony announced that they were exiting the eBook space and Kobo would take over their book business. Aside from the preliminary press release Kobo has been silent about their dealings with Sony, but today Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn has spoke to Good e-Reader all about it.
“In North America we have been really happy with the Sony customers coming over to Kobo. People have been really interested and excited about our retail ecosystem and our investment around recommendations and how to discover your next great read. As a company, we are very happy with the collaboration and quality of customers coming over.” said Tamblyn.
Michael is referring to Sony closing their online eBook store and gravitating their existing client base to Kobo. The entire modern line of Sony e-readers such as the PRS-T1, T2 and T3 have received firmware updates that removed the Sony Reader Store and implemented the Kobo store. Existing Sony customers had emails sent over to them before the big change, instructing them on how to transfer their existing customers over to Kobo.
“The Sony and Kobo relationship has been successful in a couple of ways, we are concerned about people accessing their digital libraries for the long-term and buy new books. Our primary motivation was stepping in for a company exiting the eBook space and allowing customers to buy new titles.” Tamblyn elaborated.
Not all customers were happy for the Reader Store to close and switch to Kobo. Jeff P recently wrote “HORRID! HORRID! HORRID! I’ve been a member since November 2007. The only readers or tablets I’ve ever were Sony so that I could use the reader software. I once told a sales clerk that I didn’t need the extended warranty because I was buying a Sony. Almost every piece of electronic equipment I have is Sony. I won’t buy another Sony ANYTHING. Yes, you say customers are first, well, I’m the first customer to tell you that you’ve made a HORRID mistake and I’m never going to buy another Sony product EVER.”
Michael Kozlowski and Peter Carotenuto of Good e-Reader have another roundtable discussion on the evolution of the Sony consumer e-Reader brand. They discuss important milestones, such as the advent of touch, the incorporation of a stylus and releasing the first front-lit e-reader.
The entire e-reader industry owes Sony a debt of gratitude for pioneering major technologies. The company has announced exclusively to Good e-Reader that they are abandoning the consumer space and that the PRS-T3 e-reader will be the last one they make. Instead, they are focusing on the business segment with the Sony DPT-S1 Digital Paper.
During the roundtable we discuss the ramifications of exiting the eBook and e-reader space, how Kobo is benefiting and how the customers are responding to dealing with a new ecosystem.
Sony has discontinued making the Sony PRS-T3 e-readers in North America and Europe. This is creating an atmosphere where many existing Sony users want to insure they have a backup available incase their primary unit bites the dust. Currently, the PRS-T3 is completely sold out in every Sony Style in Canada. There is only one retailer currently selling them in limited quantities, Shop e-Readers.
Shop e-readers is our official sister site and in anticipation of the PRS-T3 getting totally discontinued we made sure to stock up. Right now we have the last 8 T3 e-readers in Canada and 6 T3S (the ones without the build in case).
The Sony PRS-T3 is available for $179.99 US and will be shipped worldwide, including the US and Canada at discounted shipping rates. The best deal is for the Sony PRS-T3s for $159.99 and does not have a built in case.
I think the Sony PRS-T3 has amazing build quality and the software is more stable and robust than Kobo readers. Speaking of Kobo, Sony recently abandoned running their own eBook store and piggybacks Kobo for all new purchases.
The Amazon Kindle DX has been one of the most popular large screen commercial e-reader of all time. Its been out for a number of years, and has been getting a little bit long in the tooth. Today, we compare the DX against the brand new Sony Digital Paper (DPT-S1).
The Sony Digital Paper is aimed exclusively at the business sector, partly due its its singular nature of reading and editing PDF documents. The DX on the other hand is your gateway to making eBook and digital magazine purchases from Amazon. The DX lacks a touchscreen, which makes you totally reliant on the D-Pad and keyboard shortcuts. The digital paper features a capacitive touchscreen and accompanied stylus really gives you a ton of versatility.
Sony is getting out of the consumer e-reader sector and focusing their efforts on devices aimed at businesses. The first commercially viable product is the new Digital Paper (DPT-S1) which is a super advanced PDF Reader. How viable is this new product for the corporate audience or end users? Today, Good e-Reader is proud to bring you the first true hands on review.
The Sony Digital Paper features a 13.3 inch e-Ink Mobius e-paper screen with a resolution of 1200 by 1600. It was designed to give you a true A4 experience, displaying PDF files as they were originally intended. The lightweight nature of Mobius gives you amazing clarity in the fonts and pictures. It also one of the most lightweight products in its class, clocking in at .08 pounds. To give you some comparison, The Kindle DX has a 9.7 inch screen and weighs 0.91 pounds and the iPad Air is 1.3 pounds.
The Digital Paper features a capacitive touchscreen display panel, which allows you to navigate menus, browse the internet or flip pages with your hands. The device really shines with the accompanied Stylus, which has advanced options for left and right handed people. The touchscreen panel is so amazing, that you can hold your wrist down on a document and it does not register as an interaction, provided the pen is actively touching the screen. This allows you to organically write on the Digital Paper, the same way you would write in your notebook. There is also a highlight button the stylus to allow you to quickly edit a document on the fly.
Underneath the hood is a ARM Cortex A8 1GHZ single core processor and 4GB of internal memory. There is support for a MicroSD card to enhance the memory up to an additional 32GB. Battery life is superb with a 1270 mAh lithium ion, which should garner you over a month of constant use.
The design of the Digital Paper is entirely unique and no e-reader has ever managed to pull off the practical sensibilities. It has a home, back and settings button that are not softkeys, but they have a bit of torque. By firmly pressing down, and hearing a small click, you know you interacted with a specific function. The settings menu does different things, depending on if you are reading a document or using the internet browser. There is a small power button on the right hand corner of the unit, on a small curved part of the bezel.
The Sony DPT-S1 is beguiling to behold. Its lightweight nature allows you to hold it in one hand for long reading sessions. The clarity of the screen makes image heavy PDF documents really shine. Sony has really refined the role a stylus plays in their consumer side of e-readers, since their first touchscreen PRS-700 back in 2007. If you are heavily invested in PDF documents at work or in the home, this is a must purchase.
The Digital Paper reader was designed with the express purpose of reading PDF documents. It is the first e-reader ever to show a document as it was intended to be read in glorious A4. There is no need to employ pinching or zooming to find that sweet spot, like the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Aura does. That is not to say you can’t pinch and zoom, you can, its just mostly unnecessary.
There are times when you are browsing the web or want to show off how pretty an image looks by making it full screen. Due to its capacitive nature you can easily pinch and zoom using two fingers to make take up the entire screen. During this process the rendering engine kicks in, limiting the amount of e-ink refreshing that occurs. This is where the 1GHZ processor really shines because its all done with the ease of use of doing the same thing on a smartphone or tablet.
The home screen comprises of your Last Read, Recently Added or Saved Workspaces. On the navigation bar are entries for Home, Documents, Notes, Workspace, Browser and Settings.
Workspaces is the bread and butter of this device and bears a resemblance of the way browser tabs work on Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. You can have many documents opened at once and jump between them by clicking on the tab. Lets say you are a lawyer working on a class action suit, likely you will have a pile of PDF documents that constantly need to be referenced. You can have 10 tabs opened at once for the interview phase and seamlessly jump between each one, taking notes and making highlights for key points. Workspaces can be saved and loaded, so you can jump between them with ease right from the menu.
Editing a PDF document allows you to write with the stylus anywhere you want. You can make notes, highlights or annotations and quickly go back to reference any changes you made on the fly. Once you made a bunch of changes you can save the PDF, preserving all of your augments, so you can export it to your e-Reader, smartphone, tablet or work PC.
When editing a PDF file, there are four different pen styles to select, from the very fine line to one that bears a resemblance to a marker. If you elect to take a note there are two main processes. One allows you to use the touchscreen keyboard to type in changes and the other incorporates the stylus to hand draw.
I really dig the dedicated note taking app. It gives you a lined sheet of paper, similar to the ones we all used in grade school, complete with margin edges. You can doodle, draw or just write in text with the stylus and save these are independent files.
The Digital Paper was designed to be a true PDF Reader with most of the RND efforts focusing on minimizing screen refreshing and advanced editing options. It does not have support for EPUB, MOBI, TEXT or DOC files, so it is quite limiting to read eBooks.
Still, the advanced user will be able to easily download comics, manga, eBooks, magazines or newspapers in PDF form. If you have a collection of DRM-Free eBooks, from Project Gutenberg Pottermore or TOR you can easily use Calibre to convert your standard digital book from one format to another. We tested this during the review and comic books tend to look a bit dark, but eBooks actually worked amazing. Sony is clearly not hyping the fact this is an e-reader, but the functionality does exist to convert your existing collection and port it over.
When you are reading an EPUB book converted to a PDF the large screen is a pure joy. There isn’t any options to make the text bigger or adjust the line spaces or margins like there are on the Nook, Kindle or Kobo, but there is no real need. By default, the text is readable by the naked eye, and you can employ zooming to make the fonts appear better. You can also highlight, take notes, or look words up on Google.
The internet browser is your gateway to access your preexisting eBook collection on Dropbox, Evernote or Pocket. Most of the Read it Later services all allow you to even save your favorite blog in a PDF file, allowing you to reference it later. In addition, corporate clients are a big focus for Sony and there are advanced networking options to configure direct access to dedicated server or VPN. Once connected, new options appear when editing a document to automatically push your revised document to the central server. If many people have access to the same PDF File, it perseveres versioning, to make sure the newest document is always accessible.
The Sony Digital Paper is simply the best e-reader made for editing PDF files. We did a head to head comparison against the iPad, Kindle DX, Icarus Excel and most other large screen e-readers and tablets on the market. This model blew them all away with response time and ease of use. No app for iOS or Android can really compare with the entire file editing process.
I spoke with the team leads of the DPT-S1 earlier last week and they told me thousands of hours of development were made to make this reader a reality. They literally had full days of internal meetings where they would figure out how to shave off a millisecond of load time.
The price on this model is quite high when compared to other consumer e-readers out there. The DPT-S1 is not positioned in a race to the bottom, to be the cheapest device out there and appeal to the largest demographic. Instead its solely aimed at entertainment, law firms, medical, transportation and other verticals. I was told “it is meant to be a replacement of paper and your second screen to your PC.”
If you are heavily invested in PDF documents, this e-reader is the best one ever made. It is worthy the price of being both a large screen eBook reader and excels at its sole task, replacing paper.
Light as a feather
Most Advanced PDF Reader ever made
Long Battery Life
Note taking has no latency
Virtual Keyboard is responsive
No support for EPUB, MOBI, DOC or TXT
Sony does not sell these to everyone, you need to be interviewed
Sony has been making e-readers since 2004 and was the first mainstream company to use e-ink technology. They pioneered many innovations such as a touchscreen and built in light. This prompted many competitors to jump into the field, such as Amazon, B&N and Kobo. Sony has found that their consumer efforts might be drawing to a close, as reps have confirmed that the company will no longer be making devices.
Sony Europe gave an interview to a German tech blog and confirmed that they have no plans to release a Sony PRS-T4 or any other device aimed at the end user. Instead, they will continue to focus on the business segment, with the Sony Digital Paper leading the charge.
The Digital Paper is the first 13.3 inch e-reader to employ Mobius technology. This makes it tremendously lightweight and has been firmly embraced by medical, legal and the entertainment industry.This device does not have an eBook store and doesn’t even read eBooks, in the conventional sense. Instead, it is a heavily optimized PDF reader and has a hefty price of $1,100.
Digital Paper is marketed towards professionals and Sony deals with a few authorized partners to sell to niche markets. The demand actually caught Sony off-guard and they are now selling it directly. Sadly, they will only sell it to corporations or users that qualify via an extensive interview process. This is attributed to no official customer service and they want to insure the people using them will not be a pain to deal with.
In 2014 Sony closed their official bookstore in Australia, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom. The only market they actually still sell eBooks is in their home country of Japan. Sony told us in a prior interview that the majority of their users are reading books on their smartphones and tablets. This is prompting them to double down on their core app experience and nix making dedicated e-readers.
Sony simply could not compete anymore in the cut-throat e-reader segment. They once had a premium price tag, but now its basically a race to the bottom. Who can sell them the cheapest and still make a bit of money doing it. Sony found out its a fools errand to compete on price alone and instead its better to scale down their market approach.
We have reached out to Sony canada and Sony Europe for official confirmation.
Sony is known for their high build quality when it comes to consumer electronics. Their e-readers have been wildly successful and despite the fact they closed the Reader Store, many people are still using them on a daily basis. Exactly how durable is the PRS product line when it comes to daily life? Today, we find out!
The Sony PRS-T2 is very similar to the T1 and T3. This makes it a fairly effective benchmark to see if it sustains any damage through our drop tests. We test it from the 3 foot mark, to simulate the quintessential pocket miss. Then, we drop it from the five foot mark on its back, side and directly on its screen. Undoubtedly you have seen people rock broken iPhones in public, but seldom an e-reader. Does the Sony survive?
As an added bonus we drop it from the 15 foot mark. Why? You might be slamdunking a basketball and decide you want to read or maybe you live on the second floor and drop it off your balcony. Finally, most of us have run stuff over in the yard with the car in the morning. Kids leave their toys out, the briefcase is on top of the car as you pull away. What happens to the Sony if it’s RUN over with a car?
Sony Canada has confirmed with Good e-Reader that the Sony PRS-T3 is officially discontinued. It will no longer be available in retail settings once current stocks have depleted. Not only is it no longer available in Canada, but Sony Europe also confirmed its discontinued.
The PRS-T3 was one of the best e-readers Sony ever produced. It was durable, had great resolution and the ability to read eBooks you borrowed from the library. One of the downsides of this model was the built in case that added to the bulk. You are actually unable to remove it, without the battery and motherboard being visible. The Sony PRS-T3S actually solved this issue by having the standard backplate, and this model is actually still available in limited quantities.
2014 was a big year for change in the Sony e-reader division. The company closed down their Reader Store in Canada, Europe and Australia. All digital books and customers were passed over to Kobo, where a recent firmware update allows you to buy books again, but not through Sony.
Is the discontinuation of the Sony PRS-T3 a sign that the company will announce a new model in September? This is the time of year they generally have new products come out, but without a dedicated eBook store, is e-readers still viable for Sony?
Welcome back to another Good e-Reader exclusive contest. Today we are giving away an e-reader we just found in our review labs, the Sony PRS-350.
The Sony PRS-350 and 650 were the most popular Sony e-readers the company ever produced. When they were first released on August 2010, they couldn’t keep them in stock on the retail level, due to ravenous demand.
I really liked the five inch display because it made it really pocket friendly. The resolution is 800×600 and features a touchscreen to flip the pages of your favorite book. There is no WIFI built into it, so you will have to load in your own PDF or EPUB books.
The 350 is in fairly great condition, as it was just used for the purposes of unboxing, reviewing and comparing against other readers on the market. In order to enter, you merely have to subscribe and like our YouTube channel and comment on the video, letting us know you have done all of the above.
Sony has shuttered their online bookstore in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the US. This means if you have a Sony PRS-1, T2 or T3 e-reader you will no longer be able to buy eBooks. Users have been transitioned to the Kobo bookstore, but how do access it? Today, we show you how to search for the new firmware update, install it and access Kobo.
If you have not turned your Sony e-Reader on for awhile, when you boot it up and connect to WIFI you should see an update notification. You can drag your finger down at the very top of the screen to see the update. If you click on it it will ask if you want to download it. It is around 100 MB in size, so it should take a few minutes to completely download. Once it does, you can access the status menu again and click on the update. This time, it will ask if you want to install it. This process normally takes around fifteen minutes and will reboot your reader.
Once the Sony boots up after the update, you will have your Sony Reader Store switched over to Kobo. This warrants you making a new account with them, if you don’t already have one. In your library you will normally see all of your books on one shelf. If books are missing, you can click on the tab at the top of the screen and switch your shelf to Purchased Content.
Sony opened up their first eBookstore in 2004 and was selling e-Readers before Amazon released their first generation Kindle. In early 2014 Sony got out of the eBook business and closed up shop in North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. They encouraged all of their customers to switch to Kobo, as an avenue to continue purchasing content.
There is a long storied history of Sony being involved in the e-Reader sector and they released more models than anyone in the entire industry. Today we look at the evolution of the Sony brand, from the first device, until their last. Incidentally, if you like this evolution piece, check out the ones we did on Amazon and Kobo.
The Sony Librie was otherwise known as the EBR-100EP and was originally released in April 2004. It was the very first commercial e-ink device, and was sold only in Japan, but many devices were sold in the US through online retailers and with a third-party English OS upgrade. This reader was the result of a three-year collaboration between Sony, Philips, Toppan printing and E Ink Corporation.
The resolution was 800×600, which was amazing at the time and many modern e-readers still adhere to this old standard. People were surprised this could hold over 10 books with the 10MB of storage and were able to listen to music and audiobooks via the speaker and headphone jack.
The Librie was interesting historically because Sony developed their own proprietary eBook format, LRF. This model basically only read books that were purchased from the Sony Japanese book store and had no support for PDF or other popular formats at the time, such as Microsofts, Nokia, or Palm.
The Sony PRS-500 was known as “A Reader” in their promotional and marketing campaign. This was the first device that Sony marketed outside Japan and was released in September 2006. This was one year before Amazon unveiled their own Kindle reader.
Sony streamlined this e-reader and discarded the physical keyboard that was on their first device ever made. Instead, they went with a unique controller system that was in essence two joysticks. One was for page turns and the other for accessing the menu, settings or dictionary.
The first Sony reader could only store 10MB of data, and this model was upgraded to hold 64MB, which drastically increased the amount of books that could be loaded on it. No longer were customers forced to delete books they finished reading, but could store over 80.
This reader had the same e-ink screen as the Libri, but had a faster processor. On November 16, 2009, Sony announced that a firmware update is available to support the ePub and Adobe DRM format and add the ability to re-flow PDF documents”. Owners must send the reader into the Sony Service Centers for the updated firmware. You can obviously tell how infant the e-reader industry was during this era, when you had to mail away your e-reader for over a month for them to load in the new firmware for you.
The Sony PRS-505 was originally released in October 2007, the same year Amazon unveiled their first generation Kindle. This model used a new e-Ink Vizplex display screen, which provided faster page turns than the prior models. Although the overall performance was enhanced, Sony still abided by the 800×600 resolution. This also marked the first time that you could charge a Sony reader via the USB cable.
Sony increased the internal storage yet again on this model, which saw a dramatic leap to 256MB and over 500 books available to be stored. Also, adding books to “Collections” (a feature to organize and group book titles) is now possible on the SD card, unlike the PRS-500 model.
July 24, 2008 marked the first time this model received a firmware update to support the fledgling ePub format Adobe Digital Editions 1.5 and Adobe DRM protected PDF files, automatic reflow of PDF files formatted for larger pages enlarges the text to improve readability, and support for high capacity SDHC memory card. This time, instead of sending the reader in to get the update, it was provided as a free download, along with written instructions.
The Sony PRS-700 was a benchmark e-reader and broke the mold on several fronts. It was the first touchscreen e-reader and the first model to feature an illuminated screen to let you read in the dark.
Sony heavily invested in touchscreen technology with their e-readers and this was the first of many to fully adopt it. Moving in this direction eliminated the D-Pad and most keys, minimizing the footprint and making it easier to hold. This was also the first e-reader that allowed you to make highlights, annotations on the fly and take advantage of the new virtual keyboard.
The LED lights on this unit was a precursor to the front-lit technology we see on the modern 2014 readers, such as the Nook Glowlight, Kobo Aura and Kindle Paperwhite 2. It all started with Sony making in-roads and taking the risk of developing technology never seen before on an e-reader. The overall experience was really lacklustre and jaded executives so much that they said they would never make a LED reader ever again.
Sony Touch Edition PRS-600
The Sony PRS-600 was known as the Touch Edition and was released the very same day as the five inch Pocket Edition on August 2009. This reader continued the trend of having a speaker and 3.55 headphone jack and relied on the touchscreen as a way to take notes and highlights.
The Touch Edition was the first time Sony marketed their readers in three different colors, black, white and red. This model also increased the storage from 256MB on the prior model to over 512MB. It had the same resolution as the older models, so did not break any new ground on the ePaper front.
Up until the launch of the Touch Edition all Sony e-Readers were unable to read PDF or EPUB files out of the box. You had to either send them to Sony via snail mail for them to manually patch or do it yourself. This was the year that Sony firmly switched over from their own LRF format to EPUB and native PDF support.
The move to firmly embrace EPUB and PDF allowed a new generation of users to be able to not exclusively shop at Sony anymore for their books. Instead, they could deal with other retailers and use Adobe Digital Editions to sync up the purchases.
This was the first e-reader that Sony really stepped their marketing efforts on. They made a number of stock images for bloggers to use in their writeups and started blitz campaigns in the Sony Style stores and also expanded their retail distribution into countries like Canada.
Pocket Edition PRS-300
The Sony Pocket Edition was released on August 2009, the same day as the PRS-600. Sony went back to their roots by offering an entry level reader for a solid $199, which made it one of the cheapest models at this point in time.
One of the ways Sony saved many was abandoning the costly touchscreen technology and instead went with physical page turn keys, D-Pad and manual page turn buttons. It also had no MP3 audio or expandable memory. It has a similar interface to the PRS-500 and PRS-505.
Sony Daily Edition PRS-900
When the Sony Daily PRS-900 was first unveiled in December 2009 it bucked the trend of the standard six inch device and incorporated a 7 inch screen. Sony also borrowed a page out of Amazons playbook and offered free 3G internet access to the US version of the Sony bookstore.
Sony increased the memory yet again to a whopping 2GB, which allowed over 1700 books to loaded on it. It also boosted up the resolution, making it the best on the market at this time. It had 1024×600, which was ideal for reading texts in landscape or portrait mode.
The Daily Edition was the first time there were no hardware buttons at all. It was completely reliant on the touchscreen and Stylus for all of your inputs. 2009 was a big year for Sony with 3 new devices hitting the market months within each other.
This model was really expensive and set you back US$399 at the time of release. This was mainly to offset the costs in the internet access, which at the time was a pricey value proposition. It was considered to be the very best e-reader on the market and was more accessible than Amazon.
Setting The Stage for the Next Generation
August the 10th 2010 was a milestone for Sony as they released the second generation Pocket Edition, Touch Edition and Daily Edition. The company really refined all of their technology and this lineup of devices was at the height of the e-reader and eBook boom period.
2010 was the year that competition really started to heat up between Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. E-Ink, the Taiwan company responsible for all of the e-paper displays made over 3 billion in this year alone and even NEONODE, the company responsible for the IR touchscreen tech was making millions.
Sony used their advanced e-readers as an avenue for growth. They opened up online bookstores in the UK, Europe and Australia. All of these models were highly visible in the retail sector, but it was costly. Australians were paying almost 2x the retail cost in North America and most flocked to eBay or other online merchants to save a bundle.
This was the final year that e-Reader revenue was expanding at a geometric rate and it started to decrease in the following years. This was also the last year Sony released three new devices annually and only did one, focusing their efforts on the more lucrative smartphone and tablet market.
Sony Pocket Edition PRS-350
The second generation Pocket Edition was launched on August 2010. This was the first modern line of Sony readers to adopt E-Ink Pearl, which provided a better experience than the antiquated Vizplex technology.
The Pocket Edition continued to be Sony’s smallest ever Reader, clocking in at five inches. It hit the market cheaper than the previous PRS-300 at US$179. Unlike the first generation model it incorporated a touch screen, and two GB of Memory but lacked an SD Card Slot and does not support MP3 playback.
Sony PRS-650 Touch Edition
The Sony PRS-650 was released August 2010 and was announced at the same time as the touch-screen PRS-350. It is Sony’s mid-range device, priced at US$229. As the replacement for the PRS-600 model, it is Sony’s higher-scale, touch-screen edition of the reader. It has a similar interface to the PRS-350.
This reader was fully touch screen but brought back physical buttons, such as the settings, options, home and manual page turn keys. The Touch Edition is a compact and lightweight e-book reader; responsive touch-screen interface with no glare or contrast issues; high-contrast E Ink Pearl display; zippier performance than its predecessor; integration with Sony e-book store; good battery life (up to two weeks); supports EPUB e-book standard, which allows for e-book downloads from libraries; audio playback; SD and Memory Stick Duo memory expansion slots.
Sony was unprepared for the Q4 demand for the 650 e-reader. There were a few key reasons why this model in particular is so hard to purchase anywhere in North America, UK, Australia and other countries. Sony in early December recently did a relaunch of their new e-readers in Japan. This was the company’s second attempt to penetrate the often fickle Japanese market. Sony actually diverted shipments from all over the world to Japan, creating an international scarcity.
Sony Daily Edition PRS-950
The PRS950 model of the Daily Edition was released August 2010 and adds Wi-Fi to the free 3G wireless access to the Sony eBook store. The Reader Daily Edition features a high contrast E Ink Pearl technology on its anti-glare touch screen. It is otherwise similar to the older PRS 900 model.
This was the last 7 inch model that Sony sold and many users still have this model in 2014. One of the downsides is that the 3G internet has been shut off, because Sony closed their bookstore in North America. The only way to be able to connect up to the internet and use the web-browser is to utilize your personal or public WIFI. It retailed at the time for US$299.
The Sony PRS-T1 came out in October 2011 and marked the first time Sony only released one new e-reader model. The T1 was also known as the Reader Wi-Fi and was billed as the world’s lightest 6″ e-Reader with a glare-free, paper-like display designed for hours of comfortable reading, even in direct sunlight.
The big hyping factor behind the T1 was the new product design, that would shape the next two iterations of the PRS-T product line. It was the first Sony branded device to have built in WIFI to purchase books, magazines and newspapers at Sony Reader Store. Customers could also browse the internet with the built in browser. It also had a built in Overdrive APP, to allow customers to borrow books from the public library.
Sony adhered to the 2GB of memory size, which they found to be enough for your average user. They have also used the same resolution 800×600 that they employed for the last five years.
The T1 was very internationally friendly with 12 Built-in Dictionaries with 2 English and 10 others, such as French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Italian.
The Sony PRS-T2 was released September 2012 and mirrored the PRS-T1 in almost every single way. One of the most striking differences was the home, settings and manual page turn keys. The T1 had long rectangular buttons, which was a bit unwieldy. The T2 has really small buttons that actually had a ton of torque, it made interacting with them more intuitive and made the device more streamlined.
One of the big deals Sony trumpeted was their business relationship with Evernote. You could save your notes, highlights and annotations directly to your Evernote account, which made students and academics lives a bit easier. The average person really did not care and the T2 update really felt like the iPhone 4 and the 4S, in terms of a very incremental update, not really needed.
The Sony PRS-T3 is the most current generation commercial reader that is still being sold online and in many retail stores. Currently it has no built in store, but a firmware update will be adding the Kobo Store as an avenue to purchase content.
The Sony T3 was released September 2013 and bypassed the US to be launched in Canada, then the UK, Europe and Australia. This was the first true high-resolution e-readers that mirrored what Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo were doing at the time. 1024×758 is currently the gold standard for e-Reader resolution and it is hard for text to be anymore crisp.
Sony sold two different versions of the T3 e-reader line, the second many just came with a case and reading light, it was an extremely limited release, mainly just in Canada.
Sony Digital Paper
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 called Mobius, which they developed with e-Ink.
The screen itself is quite respectable in terms of resolution and pixel density. The resolution on the display is 1200×1600 with 150 PPI. The main attraction is using the active digitizer and interacting with complex PDF documents. You can edit documents by jotting down your own handwritten notes, or even highlight passages to go back to later. You may elect to save your notes as independent files, which makes referencing them in the future easier.
The large screen display will simply give you the best PDF experience you have ever had on an e-reader. I have personally reviewed over 83 different e-readers since launching Good e-Reader in 2009, and this was the first one to give me a quality PDF experience. It is only available at two online retailers, both who have been sold out for over a month. You can take your luck with Amazon, who sell it for a cool $1400.00.
Sony was once the most dominant player in the e-reader revolution and was the primary mover in selling hardware and eBooks. Rising competition from small companies such as Pocketbook, Onyx and Ectaco slowly whittled away market share in Western and Eastern Europe. North America and the UK saw Amazon, B&N and Kobo take them to the cleaners and eroded the profitability of the e-reader division.
Sony now intends on only marketing their phones and tablets and has given up on e-readers. The company has signed a longterm agreement with Kobo, to have their eBook app preloaded on any future Sony branded Android device. Each book customers purchase will pay Sony a small commission, similar to how Kobo cuts in indie bookstores all over the world.
The current e-reader industry would not be where they are today if it weren’t for Sony. The made one of the first mainstream touch screen e-readers and the best with LED lights to read in the dark. The 3G Daily edition inspired Barnes and Noble to offer a similar service with their first Nook 3G model. Sony may have lost their shine, but historically very significant to a billion dollar publishing industry.
Sony has been heavily invested in e-readers and eBooks since 2007 and was one of the first companies actively developing products in this space. During the last few years Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo have all been out pricing Sony on eBooks and e-reader prices have fallen dramatically, due to cutthroat competition. This has resulted in Sony abandoning their Reader Store in North America, Europe and Australia and sourcing all digital sales to Kobo. Japan is the last country where the Reader Store is still going strong and Sony is doubling down, to focus all of their energies in being the top player.
In an exclusive statement to Good e-Reader, Vice President of Marketing for Sony Tony Smith said “We are increasing sales in Japan by concentrating our focus on offering a wide range of reading opportunities across various compatible devices, and on enhancing the store services and the selection of digital content. We aim to develop the Japanese business further by increasing the range of digital content working with publishers or partners, expanding the lineup of compatible devices, such as Xperia or PS Vita, cooperating with CRM platforms such as My Sony Club, and enhancing the accessibility of the store service such as offering extending it to PCs, and enriching IPhone/iPad experience.”
The digital gambit for Sony in Japan is not without massive resistance by some very important sectors. Newspapers still remain immune to going digital, although they enjoy a more loyal subscriber base than those in North America do. Professor Hayashi Kaori of the University of Tokyo said that “Newspaper circulation figures remain remarkably high in Japan. Among the major national papers, the Yomiuri Shimbun — Japan’s largest — puts its circulation at slightly less than 10 million. The number two, Asahi Shimbun, has an official circulation just shy of 8 million. Japan’s regional newspapers typically reach 50 percent of households in their market, and a fair number boast a penetration rate of 60 percent or higher.” Many of these nws companies employ elderly people to distribute the papers to stores and customers. It is thought that if digital is given a priority that they would have to lay some of these people off, and this is something they are not willing to do.
Sony does not have the best track record when it comes to developing new mobile reading platforms and executing them. In 2012 they were actively developing a Storyteller app for the Playstation Vita, which never saw a commercial release. Nintendo also beat them to the punch with launching a kids bookstore on the DS.
Exclusively focusing all of their energies on a singular market, with one major language does have obvious benefits. Sony was born in Japan, and that puts them in a better position to leverage their overall brand to duke it out with Amazon or Kobo. The chief concern is if Sony can execute any of their planned enhancements for their mobile apps or the PS Vita?
Sony is officially getting out of the eBook selling business and has just announced the closure of their UK, Germany, Austria, and Australia Reader Stores. The stores will shut down for good on June 16th 2014 and all books will be transitioned over to Kobo.
Last month Sony officially shuttered their North American Reader Store and transitioned all of their customers to Kobo. All Sony branded e-readers received firmware updates that removed the store and a future update will add the Kobo Store to all Sony devices.
Sony is abandoning selling books in every single market in the world now, other than Japan. The company has found it can remain profitable outsourcing all of the bookselling business to Kobo and earn commissions on every sale. All current and future Sony e-Readers and Xperia tablets and smartphone users will be able to buy books from Kobo in their own country. Kobo currently operates dedicated bookstores in UK, Germany, Austria, and Australia, so the transition will be smooth.
Existing European and Australian Sony customers will be receiving emails in the coming weeks with full instructions on how copy their books to Kobo. It is important to note that just the store is shutting down and you will be able to read your books the way you have always have. This is useful because not all Sony books are compatible with Kobo, especially magazines, newspapers and older books in LRF format.
Sony was one of the first companies to get into the e-reader industry back in 2006. The also started one of the first online digital bookstores and dominated the e-reader market until early 2012. They saw increased competition from Apple, Amazon, B&N and Kobo. Instead of fighting it out with cheaper book prices and e-readers, they decided just to scrap selling books and focus on tablets and smartphones.
“We are delighted to be working with Sony to reach the most passionate Readers in Europe and Australia, by bringing the Kobo world to Reader Store customers – keeping them reading their favourite stories,” said Takahito Aiki, CEO, Kobo. “Both companies share the goal of putting the most passionate booklovers at the centre of the reading experience. This means providing the best experience through innovative technology coupled with a vast and comprehensive digital reading ecosystem.”