updated 08:55 pm EDT, Thu October 2, 2008
Sony tonight fulfilled expectations with the launch of a new, high-end Reader. The PRS-700 is one of the first and few devices to mix the use of an e-ink display with a touchscreen interface and is said to make interacting with books more natural; users make swiping gestures with their fingers to turn pages and use a stylus to select text, run a search or make notes with an on-screen keyboard. Sony also bills itself as the first to build in an LED-based reading light to supply a clear view without having to turn on a potentially intrusive outside light.
The sequel's new input scheme doesn't affect the 7,500-page battery life that carries over to the new model; additionally, Sony says the built-in storage has improved and now holds as many as 350 typical books without having to use the incorporated Memory Stick or SD card slots. Format support is also the same and includes universal formats like PDF and Word documents as well as more proprietary BBeB and EPUB files.
Sony delivers the new Reader in November for $400 with a bundled outer cover. Unlike the second-generation hardware, the PRS-700 isn't considered a direct replacement and for now will sit above the older model and its $300 price.