Sony has regularly updated its e-book reader line - aka Reader - in the late summer/early autumn timeframe so it comes as no surprise to learn it'll be doing so again this year. Confirmation of the successor(s) to the 6in PRS-650 and the 5in PRS-350 - respectively dubbed the Touch and Pocket Editions, even though they both have …
one of the original sony ebooks (PRS-505) - and it is still going strong, mainly for freee books (classics) and technical documents. Over the years battery life has gone down (a week or so now as opposed to a remembered five) but it still works very well. Sony's worst competitor - their own hardware. Thank goodness.
The reason I won't be updating in the forseeable future is that I too own a PRS-505. Had it almost 3 years now and I reckon it'll be good for another 10. I don't need wifi or a colour screen, I have a computer that is permanently connected to teh interwebs and a handy USB cable, and I read books, not comics. There are some niggling issues like not being able to use it while it's recharging but nothing to warrant spending a couple of hundred quid to fix. Overall I'm very happy I chose this model.
I agree with you entirely Richard, Sony's hardware is excellent.
I have a PRS-600, and it isn't too bad for its time. But the thing that really gets my goat is that the built-in dictionary has a misspelling. Where a word might have derivatives (a fairly common occurrence), it is written DERIVATIBES. Did Sony issue any kind of firmware update for that and other issues? No. Did they even respond to my enquiry about possible updates? No.
So caveat lector, Sony have a habit of casting you adrift once you have shelled out your readies.
Bit meh if that's all it is
I got a PRS650 just before Christmas last year and love it to bits but I'd have zero interest in upgrading, especially if the price rises, for just wifi and/or 3G.
As it is I only went for the 650 over the 350 because of the sd-card slot but that was actually a bit pointless because I've yet to use it once - I bunged 300 books into the main memory via the lappie and am still reading those, and will be for a long time, so these features are pretty much useless to me.
I couldn't care less about browsing, email or any other extraneous crap. I bought the device for just reading and have no wish to be distracted by, nor have to pay more for, gimmicks that I'll never use. Not being a luddite or anything (I already have smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc) and I'm all for convergence, but this is one case where I like the KISS principle.
Less asymmetrical design?
Um - why? Surely that's just a matter of personal preference? It certainly has no bearing on which hand one might use to hold it comfortably.
Probably not this round, but Sony and others have been showing off colour e-ink for quite some time now.
Please let it be soon.. I tried reading on a phone or tablet, but I had to give up with terrible head-ache after a short time.
I borrowed an e-ink reader for a day or so and really love it, but it is near-impossible to read colour PDF files on it. Knowing my luck a colour reader will be released the day after I buy a B&W version.
"Knowing my luck a colour reader will be released the day after I buy a B&W version."
Well, can you hurry up and buy one so the rest of us can get a colour one sooner!
improved hardware and software
I'd have to say it needs it.
I've raved about my PRS300 in the past, and I do like it for its size and battery life and a decent display, but whoever designed it never tried using it one handed, and never thought about feedback for button actions.
There are too many occasions where it does something unexpected - e.g. returning to life after recharging, it backspaces to 'book by author' rather than the 'by collection' in which I left it.
It has no way of listing hierarchically beyond one level deep, and that only in 'collections' - alphabetical listing doesn't list by author and then having selected an author, by title; instead, it lists everything by that author, and then everything by the next author, and so on - potentially four or five hundred books in a long list. Tough if you're looking for Zelazny at ten books every two seconds...
It's inconsistent in its interface - sometimes the centre button is required to select, sometimes a number button is required. Sometimes the left arrow takes you left, sometimes you need the goback button instead.
You can't use it while its charging, and you can't charge it except on a live computer or a dedicated (not-included) charger.
I could go in. But instead - did I mention how much I like the battery life? And the display? And the small size? And the fact that I can use Calibre to dump books to it sans DRM pollution? And the battery life?
The x50 range is already a massive improvement over the x00 range in many ways. I'm no Sony fan, but to judge their readers on an early and now very much superseded range is perhaps a little bit harsh.
Sony already does wireless
But stateside only with the 9" "Daily Edition". Presumably negotiations elsewhere for the networks are trickier than for Amazon as Sony doesn't sell exclusively so has less of a chance to cover the charges through book sales.
I have 650 touch and I think it's ace. It fits snugly either into quite a few of my pockets and doesn't look ostentatious. I'm not that fussed about wireless as that eats battery time and copying books over by USB doesn't really take a lot of time, especially considering how long I tend to take to read a book. Plus, it takes both micro-SD and the littlest memory sticks which are even easier. Charges with the same cable as my phone, which is nice. Sound quality is excellent if you want to play music on it, though I suspect most people either have dedicated players or use the phone. Bluetooth would have been nice for that.
I could do with a slightly larger screen in the same size body - there's a good cm of casing too much around the screen. I don't use the touch screen very much but it is just very useful for things like looking up words by double-tapping them. A larger screen would also be good for the technical, ie. software, documentation but the PDF reflow almost entirely makes up for that. You only really how good it is when you compare the same file on different devices. Fortunately, Sphinx and other tools are making ePub common for docs so the problem will go away soon.
But the USP for readers over tablets - sunshine. Stuff just looks better and better in bright light.
Better in bright light...
Mine tends to fade to gray in direct sunlight, though it recovers quickly when I take it indoors.
Of course it's not got Kindle in the title and isn't plastered over every billboard on every tubetrain and every Amazon webpage, so idiots and lazy people won't know about it...