Considering that just about every ebook reader out there has been getting shiny new updated models released of late, Sony could not stand pat with its Sony Reader line. They have refreshed all three of their Readers, the Pocket, Touch and Daily. All three now feature touchscreens with Pearl technology, the new generation of E-ink found in the newest Kindles.
This will improve the page turning speed and the readability of all three, which is important since in previous generations of the Touch many complained that the touch sensitive layer made the text a bit muddy.
Sony has also made the devices a good deal lighter and slimmer then the previous models, down to around half a pound each and a third of an inch thick. More readable text and lighter weight…sounds like they are following the same route as Amazon with the new Kindle, focusing on the the strengths of ereaders rather than trying to make them more tablet-like.
There is one key area however where Sony did NOT follow Amazon, and that will make all the difference…Price. The Sony Pocket Reader is retailing for $179 and the Touch Reader for $229. Sure they have touch screens which the Kindle and Nook do not, but they also lack any kind of wireless. I cannot see them improving their somewhat bleak sales picture by being undersold by the market leader by over $50.
The Daily has a larger screen and WiFi along with the touch screen, but at $299 costs more than double the Kindle and Nook…which seems to me an epic fail.
On the one hand I admire Sony for sticking to it’s “Quality Costs More” guns, but I can also acknowledge that they are going to get blown away in the market by cheaper, better known devices like the Kindle and the Nook. Sony Readers are very attractive, well made devices with some great technology, but they are already at a disadvantage library wise, and I must admit that their high prices may be the nail in the sales coffin for the Sony Reader. If Sony does not have a good holiday season with these devices, I would not be surprised if they are not still on the market this time next year.