Sony has now come up with their next generation 'electronic paper' display - PRS-505 which delivers an even faster response and contrast ratio, making it easier for getting stuck into a good read on bright sunny days due to its electrophoretic display.
Sony has released the PRS-505 "Reader Digital Book", improving on the earlier Sony Reader which was available at the beginning of the year. The new version is slimmer by 0.2mm and At 6.9 inches high by 4.9 inches wide by 0.3 inch deep, the Reader is somewhere between the size of a standard DVD case and a short trade paperback novel. At IDTechEx we believe that Sony, and Amazon which also announced such a product, would have been wiser to go for a larger A4 format. Re-styled controls more closely mimic paper page turns and allow for quick, intuitive navigation. Eight levels of gray scale provide for crisp and clear text, images, and graphics.
"For people on the go, this device is compelling because it allows them to carry a wide variety of reading materials whether they are on a cross-country flight, in a doctor's office waiting room, or at a beach resort," said Steve Haber, senior vice president of Sony's Digital Imaging and Audio Division. "The Reader can handle a stack of books and other documents that people would rather not carry, yet offers a 'book-like' reading experience unavailable with other electronic devices."
The new USB-based mass storage capability allows users to use the device as a portable drive for the direct transfer of documents, images and other files to the Reader. A new auto sync feature also lets users set up folders with books and documents that can be automatically synchronized when the device is connected to a PC.
Since Sony's launch of the CONNECT™ eBooks Store last year, the number of downloadable eBooks offered has expanded to more than 20,000 titles with new ones added weekly.
Grove/Atlantic, Harcourt Trade, Kensington, Pearson Education, The Perseus Books Group, Regnery Publishing, Taylor & Francis and W.W. Norton have joined the ranks of publishers such as Hachette Book Group USA, Harlequin, HarperCollins Publishers, Holtzbrinck Publishers, Hyperion, McGraw Hill, Penguin Group, Random House and Simon & Schuster in their commitment to electronic publishing.
Recent newcomers to the store include Reader's Digest, the first magazine to produce content for the Reader and Dorling Kindersley with titles coming soon which is great for e-book fans but downloadable titles have been reported to be expensive and only available through Sony's online store at the moment.
The Reader's high-resolution electronic paper display delivers a realistic print look that rivals traditional paper and uses minimal power. A single battery charge provides up to 7,500 pages of continuous reading. The option to magnify the text in three sizes offers a distinct advantage for sight-impaired readers. Switching the Reader to landscape mode offers yet another level of magnification as well as a wider page view.
In addition to electronic books, the Reader can also store and display personal and business documents in Adobe PDF format (best when formatted for the Reader's display), RTF, text and JPEG images. Although the PDF files are hard to read because they're reduced to fit the screen apparently you can't magnify (zoom) them.
The PRS-505 feels zippier than its predecessor and Sony has managed to shorten the refresh time but some lag issues still remain when flipping pages. It retails for about $300.
We are likely to see more of these digital books coming to market from companies like the online retail giant Amazon.com who are due to unveil its highly anticipated electronic-book "the Kindle" shortly. The Kindle is equipped with a Wi-Fi connection that taps into an Amazon e-book store, which users can access to buy new electronic books. Primarily geared toward business travelers, it also includes a feature to download digital editions of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
For more information attend Printed Electronics Europe 2008.