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back to article Sony opens cover on latest e-Reader

Sony has updated its Reader e-book gadget, a revised version of last year's model with added 'advertise for publishers for free' social networking functionality to encourage Facebook chums to buy books. Sony PRS-T2 Reader The PRS-T2, follow-up to last year's PRS-T1, continues to sport a 6in, 700 x 800 E Ink display with a …

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Silver badge

Interesting. My PRS-T1 is a really nice device. Once you've got your files on, it's great. The screen is nice, the multi-touch is bloody useful, if understandably laggy, it weighs almost nothing, and being able to hack the underlying Android and install Kindle reader is both awesome and hilarious. The one component it's really missing is an accelerometer for automatic screen rotation, but that's no big deal. If you're leaning toward a Kindle but don't want to be sandboxed, the T1 lets you do both (after some easy modding), and I love it for that.

Getting your files on is the problem, though. It's a great device with really irritating desktop software (there's a shocker). If you connect it as a straight mass storage device and copy stuff that way, it's fine, but the limited on-device controls leave you without a way to correct file titles, and creating collections on the device is a bit more laborious. And god forbid you create a collection using one desktop, then try to sync it with another one. You end up with collections that cannot be deleted. Genius.

If the T2 has an accelerometer and software that's not utter shit (and they don't lie about the store being available at launch, then make customers wait months for it) then it'd be superb.

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Silver badge

Calibre is what I use for this.

Two months battery life is double for what they claimed for the 350 and t1. Are they expecting people to read for half the time every day?

Will be sticking with my 350 till it dies. Don't see any reason to upgrade before that (though if they could download audio books as well as ebooks from library website I might be tempted).

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Anonymous Coward

Yep - that's Sony

Unfortunately, coming out with a cool gadget and then making it awkward to use is a common Sony trademark.

Just look at their MP3 players (do they still make them?); I think they got better, but originally, they forced you to convert all your music files to some DRMd format that no one else uses and then use some crappy PC software to upload the things. I think it's a sign of Sony's paranoia with any kind of digital content. Strange how they didn't give a stuff about that kind of thing before Sony Music and Sony Films came along?

I mean, why make something really easy to use when you can make it really difficult and inconvenient?

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another vote for Calibre here

I ran the awful Sony software once to get the Adobe DRM thingy authorised so I could use the library service, then never booted it again.

Calibre Just Works. But I don't do collections or any of that sort of thing. I have four or five books on there at any one time and I delete them once I've read them. All my library management - such as it is - is done on my PC.

But I do love my PRS-T1. Well worth the few extra quid over a Kindle, imo.

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Bronze badge
Pint

(there's a shocker)

Do I detect sarcasm?

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Pirate

Re: Yep - that's Sony

I have an older Sony MP3 player. It contains only music ripped to a very high quality level MP3 file using LAME. The audio quality is excellent (Shure 425s if you are interested).

Loading to the device requires Sonic Stage, which is still around, maintained by a skunkworks in Sony I guess.

Anyway, we can all agree that Sonic Stage is not the best software on the planet, but it is completely untrue (for my device) that I am required to convert my files to "some DRMed format". I merely have to load them via Sonic Stage, which to be truthful is neither worse nor better than iTunes. I don't think either of them are much chop.

Sony is a very large player in the entertainment industry and has been for a very long time. It should hardly be surprising that Sony enforces DRM on content.

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Anonymous Coward

New desktop software out today too (for T1 and T2)

I agree, the T1 is a fantastic device, WAY better than a Kindle, with more content available for it, but the desktop software is utter shite.

Not tried the new software that has:

Reader™ from Sony PRS-T2 USB connection support

Intuitive drag-and-drop to copy selected contents to Reader connected to a USB port.

Simplified and intuitive contents sync operation between Reader for PC and Reader.

Info screen for more convenient access to all support pages.

Automatic Reader device authorization when connected to a computer already authorized with an Adobe ID.

Numerous user interface design and performance improvements

Russian language support.

Improved content entitlement management for contents purchased from Reader Store.

However I still prefer to use WIndows explorer, and the PRS-T1 lets me do that just fine....

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FAIL

Re: Yep - that's Sony

What's ironic is Apple is doing EXACTLY the same thing...

Double standards because one is American and one is Japanese?

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Thats why Sony is in the doldrums

Sony has made more cool gadgets for much longer, and their product design capability easily equals that of Apple.

But they have no clue about user experience... in every field of their business from gamers to mp3 players to cameras, to readers... they angered or at least bummed out large numbers of their customers - largely with inept software designs, but also with various conniving moves to get keep their hands in your pocket...

The Sony launcher for their online games is actually a surprising example that they can actually do pretty nice software. But among the most hated gaming companies, I think Sony still manages a 3rd place after EA and some other outfit I forget the name of.

They didn't need to hire a western CEO, but they do need to create a new, high ranking post for customer experience head guy across business divisions, and probably hire a westerner for that, to bridge the cultural divide. Its quite possible that the Japanese find Sony's software efforts perfectly palatable...

Then, they could be dangerous again, and wipe that annoying grin off Apple's face

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Re: Yep - that's Sony

Sorry Philip but A.C. is quite correct, the reason you need SonicStage is because of the DRM system (OpenMG) and proprietary audio coding (ATRAC). Early Sony players can't decode MP3s (despite what the marketing claimed) they only support ATRAC audio with SonicStage "helpfully" transcoding before upload to the device.

Why? Because SonicStage pre-dates flash based music players, it was previously used in conjunction with Sony's MiniDisc devices.

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Bronze badge

Re: Yep - that's Sony

My stuff is not ATRAC. It is mp3. As far as I recall, the only thing that happens when it gets put on the device (NW-HD3) is that is gets some different name for the internal track management system and a bit of obfuscation. The mp3 tags are read and used on the device menus.

I have no idea if it is DRMed BY sonic stage, however the songs I put there aren't, and they are not converted to ATRAC either.

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Silver badge

Do I detect sarcasm?

Perhaps a little. ;-)

I may have previously owned a Sony MP3 player. Never again! But then, I've been buying Cowon players since then, right up until their recent fascination with Android.

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Silver badge

Re: Yep - that's Sony

Double standards because one is American and one is Japanese?

Not exactly. Sony make shit software, but they don't force you to use it. The T1 works perfectly well in mass storage mode, doesn't demand that it manage your content, lets you import just about anything, etc, etc. That's typical Sony stuff really. Technically excellent, despite their best attempts to ruin it.

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Silver badge

6in, 700 x 800 E Ink display

From memory, wasn't the prs-t1 600.800?

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Silver badge

$=£

I have never seen the t1 for less than £110 and it's usually £130.

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FAIL

Bwuh ? It has a touch screen ? So why are there a ton of fisher-price style buttons along the bottom ?

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Because it's Android so, iirc, you have to have some buttons.

Also it's quite handy to have page-turning buttons if your fingers are less than sparkling clean, and shunting home/back controls off the screen means more screen space for words.

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Silver badge

The old buttons were nicer. They're useful for flicking to the next page without effort. I hold the reader sideways by the base and read landscape most of the time, so to switch pages I just push my thumb. Not everything has to be touchscreen, you know. Buttons still work pretty well (better, most of the time).

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Unfortunately...

.... my experiences with the t1 means I'll be very loath to get a new one.

Maybe I just got really unlucky, but I frequently get into situations with non-responsive buttons, 5 or 6 second delays between page turns and occasionally it dropping to a plain black page and nothing else. I'm having to reset it with the magic reset button at least once or twice a recharge, sometimes it's been five or six times in the space of one book....

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Re: Unfortunately...

... of course, being a great techy, I did remember to patch the damn thing... honest!

Lets see if a few notches of firmware update solve the issues I've had!

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Re: Unfortunately...

Seems to be the consensus that problems like these are specific book related and running them through Calibre to convert them to new epubs, even if they are already epubs, will often cure the problems. Or find a better source for your books.

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Re: Unfortunately...

Actually patching solved all kinds of problems.

Should've done it a long time ago. All my ebooks go through calibre and end up as epubs. just because it makes life easier... although it was annoying having to convert everything from the .lit files that went on the 505....

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Megaphone

e-books and airoplanes

I have been using my PRS-505 since it came out around 2007 and have never needed to change it. Everything works and I prefer to use a button rather than a touchscreen anyway.

However, now the Kindle has raised awareness of e-books I keep getting told to turn my book off on planes despite its lack of wifi... The thing is permanently in airplane mode and the processor is less likely to interfere with controls than the few hundred digital watches on board!

For years I have traveled with a small, light library that I could read during the eternal wait for takeoff and landing but now the trolley dollies recognise an e-book and tell me to turn it off - even, as a few weeks ago, when we are sitting on the taxiway, delayed for an hour or more... Exactly when a book is handy!

So I now have to carry a backup dead tree version thanks to Amazon's advertising and a lack of tech savvy in the airline world.

Not really related but I just needed to share :)

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Silver badge

Re: e-books and airoplanes

I've had that as well - what's more off than a ebook showing a static page?

You have to start the electronics to turn it off!

Still in a world where a tamagochi can take out a 747 we can't take the chance

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Silver badge

Re: e-books and airoplanes

I've had that too, some self-important bint on a Jet2 plane commanding me to turn my T1 off in case the milliamps of power it wasn't currently using somehow disrupted the communications capability of an entire bloody control tower. It's utter nonsense. Can't airlines just grow up and stop this rubbish?

Same goes for petrol stations. I've been told to hang up on calls several times, because apparently microwaves in the communication band can make underground petrol tanks explode. Makes you wonder why terrorists bother with bombs when all they have to do is wander next to a fuel tanker and ring their mum.

</rant>

Sorry, irritated today.

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Megaphone

PRS650, Calibre & prs-plus

I've got a pair of PRS650's and I too had "fun" with the awful Sony desktop software. I installed Calibre and it's perfect for updating the content - I didn't look too closely at the Sony software but Calibre looks like it beats it hands down. I've also "upgraded" the internals on the 650 with prs-plus - http://code.google.com/p/prs-plus/ - and it makes a huge difference to how the 650 works. It's much more intuitive to use than the standard Sony os. Recommended.

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