Sony has announced two new e-book readers to be available at the end of this month. The PRS-300 Pocket edition with a 5-inch display and the PRS-600 Touch edition (pictured above) with a 6-inch touchscreen. Both readers have 512MB of onboard memory while the Touch edition has Memory Stick / Duo and SD card slots.
The big upside to these new e-book readers is their cost, the Touch edition at $299 and the Pocket edition at $199 means that Amazon has a couple of interesting readers to compete with.
Unfortunately, Amazon won’t have to fight too hard, neither one of these e-book readers have cellular networking or Wi-Fi. Sony has “assured” Engadget that there will be models with Wi-Fi soon. But, similar to what I said in March about the Samsung Papyrus also goes for these latest e-book readers, if you don’t have a web browser with Wi-Fi or cellular networking you are worthless to me. My primary use for such a device wouldn’t be to read books but instead would be to read articles published on the internet.
Update 8/13/09: Brad Stone of the New York Times reports:
Sony Electronics, which sells e-book devices under the Reader brand, plans to announce that by the end of the year it will sell digital books only in the ePub format, an open standard created by a group including publishers like Random House and HarperCollins.
Update 8/24/09: Flickr user Doodlydood has posted a couple of videos showing sony’s latest readers. The devices look pretty good but Doodlydood points out some glaring issues (pun intended). Sony PRS-600 Thoughts and Side-by-Side Comparison PRS-505 and PRS-600.