It's well known that we Brits tend to get the short end of the technology stick compared to the US (mobile phones apart) and our friends in the Far East (nothing apart) - even if we look like NASA compared to our poor Australian counterparts. So it says something about the length of the delay in Sony shipping its PRS-505 eBook reader to us (we got it in September) that the company has just announced a successor...
"Outrageous!" I hear you cry. Well yes and no. You see as far as a follow-up goes the PRS-505 was first unveiled in September 2007 and hit American stores one month later meaning we are a full year behind. On the other hand, it does make the 12 month delay into our stores and the subsequent national press hysteria look both a little daft and sad.
Anyhow, back to the tech: the 'PRS-700' will be a new flagship model as opposed to direct replacement for the 505 and it looks the part with a cleaner appearance, a built in LED reading light (genius), storage enough for 350 eBooks and Memory Stick Duo and SD card slots to add even more.
Key to the sexy new look is the 6in LCD now packs in touchscreen functionality - cutting down on buttons - meaning pages can be turned with a slide of the finger or zoomed with a finger tap (cheers Apple) though a stylus is still bundled for highlighting or scribbling notes. Page refreshes are faster too and battery life is good for up to 7,500 page turns on a single charge. As you might expect, PDF, Word, Text files and more remain compatible. On the downside, still no WiFi - which the Kindle (also not yet in Blightly) has packed in since it launched Stateside in November 2007.
The PRS-700 will come to US stores in November and will retail for $400 (roughly £200 - the same as we are currently being charged for its predecessor). A European release date naturally hasn't been revealed at this stage so envious glances will be cast.
We're impressed Sony, so we can only hope you don't continue to hold back and use us to clear out old stock this Christmas...