updated 09:40 pm EDT, Tue September 26, 2006
Sony Portable Reader
eBook readers have rarely surfaced in North America, lending extra importance to the introduction of even a single model. Sony's introduction on Tuesday of its first mainstream eBook device, dubbed simply the Personal Reader System, certainly carries with it the potential to affect North American attitudes towards digital reading. The new design uses electronic paper to display still text and images using a minimum of battery power, changing the display only when needed. Sony claims up to 7500 virtual pages before the lithium-ion battery inside needs to be recharged, giving enough opportunity to read several large novels. Its 64MB of internal memory is capable of holding roughly 80 books and can be expanded dramatically through either Memory Sticks or SD cards. Lastly, Sony has not restricted the Personal Reader System to text or embedded images: audio is possible using AAC or MP3 files, and image support is present for popular formats like JPEG or PNG. The relatively long wait for Sony's reader is expected to come to an end when the company ships the new model by the end of October for $350.