It's about time Sony's rather stunning (if ugly) eBook reader got a launch over here and at long last the company has obliged.
Aptly, Waterstones will be the formal point of launch with pre-orders beginning today before spreading to a wider release in time. As you might expect from Sony, specific dates and pricing are yet to be revealed. So that aside, what exactly are we getting?
In short the 'PRS-505', the company's second generation reader which was originally released in the US last October and covered by me in September. At its heart is a 6in eight-level grayscale E-Ink display with a 600 x 800 native resolution that's readable even in direct sunlight. It's thinner than its predecessor measuring just 8mm thick (verses 13mm) and weighs 260g. Internal memory has also been enlarged from 64MB to 256MB - enough for 160 typical e-books.
Memory Stick and (surprisingly) SD card expansion slots also mean the PRS-505 can hold potentially thousands more titles as well as be used to store and display Word, Jpeg, Txt, RTF, PDF and ePub file formats. Battery life is good a whopping 6,800 page turns.
As a nice touch Sony will be bundling a CD with the reader containing 100 compatible classic titles including The Jungle Book, Pride & Prejudice, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Great Expectations. A waterproof case for the PRS-505 will be made available too as an optional extra and is a wise investment for holidaymakers.
Are you ready to embrace the future and hop aboard or are you waiting for a universal standard and bargain basement pricing? Me, I'm an elitist highbrow reader who sniffs at anything remotely popular and refuses to convert until they can scent devices with the smell of old books - but I'm a freak like that...
Update: Support has just been added to the reader for the open EPUB format which is being heavily backed by publishing houses. Good news all round and most un-Sony.