Sony Reader ePaper Upgraded, Leaked

The next version of the Sony Reader has leaked to the web, bearing the typically sexy Sony moniker of the "PRS-505." While the 505 is primarily a screen update—the new ePaper screen can refresh in almost half the time—the new units also tend to be a little bit thinner and compact. The rest of the world may not be that interested in eBook tech, but I remain intrigued despite all good advice to the contrary. With Amazon's "Kindle" eBook reader on the horizon, we may end up with a full-fledged race on our hands. One only I will care about. Of course, the issue with these things tends not to be the hardware, but the cumbersome management of the eBook files themselves. Even if you wanted to buy a DRM-encumbered book from Sony's CONNECT eBook Store, it would still be nice to be able to toss a random mish-mash of plaintext files, PDFs, .doc, HTML—whatever—and have the Reader do a decent job of rendering it sanely. At least this time around Sony appears to be advertising the Reader's ability to work with non-DRM files, as well (at least according to a catalog page that has now been yanked), so there's that. New Sony Reader coming? [Mobileread via Wowio via Gadget Lab]
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11 Responses to Sony Reader ePaper Upgraded, Leaked

  1. pork musket says:

    From what I’ve read, the Amazon Kindle is only going to use proprietary formats. So much for a race – and kind of interesting that for once Sony isn’t the guy pushing their own poison.

  2. greatsage says:

    E-books ARE THE BEST!

    My (dead tree) book library weighs well over 1,000 kg – more than 1 metric tonne – and that is since I thinned it down with a lot of trips to donate at thrift stores. I have paid to transport it across and between 3 continents for 30 years – and yet I still rarely have it where I want it when I want it – and it’s always damaged a little more when I do get it.

    This has frustrated me for years because I travel a lot and I read a lot.

    I would like an ebook reader.

    Now, I have a compromise – an old IBM ThinkPad that does the job almost perfectly. It’s a dedicated portable library. I have installed MS reader plus ABC lit converter, + Adobe Professional and OpenOffice. With this setup, I can make almost any e-book/text file comfortable to read in about 5-10 minutes editing time. If you convert any doc to c5 size pdf – you have a reasonable paperback experience. MS Reader has brilliant type and a real book-sized viewing area with adjustable font size. Arial and Times New Roman are your editing friends

    Althouh reading on a CRT is useless, a decent LCD is no problem. My ThinkPad is about the size and weight of a many hefty hardbacks. Type size, and back lighting are adjustable, and it rests on a small pillow for reading in bed, on the sofa or in a hammock. It currently holds around 20,000 books plus a decent reference library of several hundred volumes. I back it all up to a few DVD’s. A Pentium 2 is plenty power for this setup so an obsolete small notebook is ideal.

    At first, i thought it would be difficult. I almost dreaded trying to read anything substantial with it. But now – I have read on this device daily for several years and I actually prefer it to the experience of reading many of the older original volumes in my collection, especially those with brittle yellow pages and small type sizes. Forget about the negativity of those who will tell you its not the same unless you can hold it and smell it and feel the texture of the cover. If you are a REAL reader and interested in books for their actual content – ebooks are fine.

    I promise you, those who take the plunge will never look back. The ebook is without doubt the future. Having said that however, there is still absolutely no way I would buy a dedicated reader locked into any particular format. Also, I will not have a DRM’d book on my hard drive and I NEVER register my copies of MS reader – if it doesn’t work, or comes up with a copyright ‘please jump through these hoops’ request – it’s recycle bin time….

  3. Mike says:

    I bought a Nokia N800 Internet Tablet and use it as an ebook reader. pdf’s and pdb stuff isn’t a problem. I get most of my stuff free off the web or through Baen’s webscriptions site. The N800 runs Linux so DRM isn’t a problem, or even available…

    I’d love for the screen to be twice as big as it is but this is useful. Evince for pdf’s and FBReader for everything else.

    I actually think I read faster on this than I do on paper. Not bad for a dyslexic…

  4. Tyler says:

    Was the last model the 404? That would be funny given Sony’s past errors for sitting on proprietary and innovative technology until it dies a slow death (minidisc? Memory Stick? do I really have to list all their failures?). Definitely interested in this too, as moves have diminished my library as well. I think a previous BB post recommended they sell these cheap with subscriptions to get them out there – I would be all for that

  5. Sarah says:

    If anybody comes out with an e-paper reading device that can do .pdf, .htm, and possibly .doc for around $200, I will buy it immediately. End of story.

    I’ve long since reached the point where enough of what I read is on a screen that it would be worthwhile to invest in something that would make the experience a little more pleasant. I currently push a lot of stuff to a Palm Zire with Plucker loaded on it, but the refresh rate is just shy of unbearably slow. Please, somebody kick off the e-paper device arms race so that I can give you my money.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Triple the size of the iPod touch, and we’re there.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’d love to have a great eBook reader, but what I’d love more would be an elegant way to check eBooks out at the Library. I’m not really a book buyer, so the library is where I get all of my books. If I could download a copy of a book for a month or so and just read it on my eBook reader, I’d be set. I’ve been waiting for this eventuality ever since the eBook readers appeared on the horizon. Now make it happen!

  8. Banky Edwards says:

    Man, I am *dying* for a good e-book reader. Mostly for the portability – I’m the kind of guy who lugs around 3 hardcovers and a half-dozen paperbacks on a 5-day vacation. I’m also the kind of guy who refreshes a page if it doesn’t load in .00002 seconds, so this 1-second page turning stuff will clearly not cut it. An e-book “race” is exactly what we need to get a good, usable reader out there. The winner will be whoever rocks the iPod model first – it’s gotta use DRM-free files, without hassle.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You’re not the only one waiting for a good ebook reader. And while ebooks are fine, I’m actually looking forward more to the text files, pdfs, etc.


  10. lectroid says:

    At SIGGRAPH ’07, I saw Sony’s latest version of e-paper, as well as a prototype of this reader. And, ignoring, for the moment, the horrific DRM issues, the execution and form of this device completely sold me on the concept of ebooks. Previously, I’d been apethetic at best on the whole business. But the contrast and clarity of the screens is now so good that I can finally see the appeal of being able to carry around a large percentage of one’s library in a device not much bigger or heavier than a mass market paperback.

    The fact that these screens work off reflected light, rather than transmitted light, mean there’s no need to deal with clunky backlighting solutions. A small, low power LED in the side of the disply is activated ONLY when the environment is DARK. this drastically reduces both eyestrain AND device power consumption.

    The tech is already being incorporated into cell phone displays, and they were showing off an early color version (not the greatest fidelity or intensity yet) and a thin, flexible version, capable of being rolled around a spool.

    Mark my words, in 5 years time, the next iPod will be a stick with a pullout wide screen that rolls back into its finger-sized casing when you tuck it away.

  11. Anonymous says:

    My idea of the best bathroom in the history of the world would include a full color/HD e-reader like above preloaded with the Complete New Yorker … nothing like reading a little “Talk of the Town” circa 1934 while “taking care of business”!

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