Sony has released a dedicated ebook reader called the Sony Reader Pocket Edition that costs a mere $199 and a more expensive version called the Reader Touch Edition at $299.
The first one (PRS-300) has a 5-inch screen while the dearer version (PRS-600) comes with a 6-inch touchscreen. Both use e-Ink technology and have a SVGA (800x600) pixel resolution. You can navigate with your finger or the included stylus on the the PRS-600.
Compared to the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX, the Sony models are simpler, without any WiFi or wireless connectivity. Indeed Ebooks can only be transfered using a USB cable or using a solid state memory card (either a SD memory or Sony's proprietary Memory Stick Duo).
Up to 350 standard eBooks can fit on the onboard 440MB of usable internal memory. Both models support Adobe PDF (with reflow capability), Microsoft Word, BBeB, EPUB but strangely enough no plain text.
The readers which come in blue, pink and silver, will be available for sale by the end of the month. Sony has also dropped the price of its e-book offers to $9.99, a reduction of $2 from its previous price. This allows the consumer electronics giant to match the price of Amazon.
The latter has the upper hand when it comes to marketshare and the number of titles with more than 330,000 titles supported by the Kindle. But the battery life of Sony models is much better than the Kindle, topping 14 days compared to the Kindle's four.
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According to the Association of American Publishers, sales of eBooks in the US last year topped $113 million, a 68 percent increase over the previous year, but still a fraction of the estimated $24.3 billion revenue generated by the book market.
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