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Sony Launches 2nd Generation eBook Reader

Gordon Kelly


Sony Launches 2G Touchscreen eBook Reader

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...


Press Release


October 3, 2008, 5:52 pm

Now that looks more like it. Hated the cluttered fascia of the first one.


October 3, 2008, 6:03 pm

Any information on the screen resolution?


October 3, 2008, 6:53 pm

This is good news, though I feel sorry for the people who just bought into the first one.

Matt G Baish

October 3, 2008, 8:17 pm

@Singularity: Identical resolution to the PRS-505 (about 167 dots per inch I think from memory).

See here for load of info: http://news.sel.sony.com/asset...

(although spec sheet is `coming soon`)

@Darfuria 'I feel sorry for the people who just bought into the first one.' Don't feel sorry for us we are very happy with our purchases & (by the look of it on the mobileread forums) most will probably not upgrade, but will wait a generation (for me that depends on how much quicker the OS is on the PRS-700 with its touted faster processor and whether it turns out to have 16 colour grayscale rather than the 8 of the PRS-505).

Personally I am not bothered about touch screen for reading books (finger prints) - but for those people who like annotating (stoodents and their ilk) this will be a boon. What I really would have liked in the tocuch feely department would be an invisible page turning sensor on the metal case (i.e. caress right for next page, left for previous or whatever) but that's probably just me.

Also with wireless, I am indifferent on what is essentially a posh book (BTW the 2G in the title of this article threw me for a bit - WAP on a Sony Reader anyone?! ;^)) - this is only really useful if you like to buy books on the go. I don't do either; everything I have read on my reader in the last 6 months (apart from a couple of issues of Interzone) has been free and since you can carry 200-odd books on the PRS-505 I have plenty to read whilst I am on the go.

For me the `real` next gen should have; 8" screen, higher res (300 dots per inch would be nice), better contrast and whiter `paper`. Oh and colour! ;^) Next gen after that maybe a rollable display! (like the Readius but better-er). But *all* of those depend on new screens being produced by whoever it is that makes them (I forget) so it will probably be a while off yet (& forget the PlasticLogic offering - it will be aimed at business & cost a small fortune).

Steve Ringer

October 5, 2008, 6:18 pm

I bet we in the UK won't see it until the back-end of 2009. Will I be able to hold out that long or will I cave in and get the PRS-505 (when they are back in stock).


October 5, 2008, 10:16 pm

Looks good, but has its handling of pdfs improved?

Matt G Baish

October 7, 2008, 6:04 pm

@piesforyou: It'll be down to whether Adobe has improved the AdobeDE PDF reflow component (which is outside Sony's control)


February 9, 2009, 3:15 pm

They messed up on calling the Kindle's wireless connection WiFi (it's really EVDO).

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