updated 10:35 am EDT, Fri August 13, 2010
Sony Reader Pocket and Touch to get Wi-Fi, thinner
Sony is planning to step up its e-reader efforts today based on details from a new rumor. One of the most "trusted sources" for Sony Insider claimed both the Reader Pocket Edition and Touch Edition would get updates. Touch Edition upgrades would be the most dramatic; the new PRS-650 should add Wi-Fi and possibly 3G for the first time in a Sony device its size, while it and the Pocket Edition PRS-350 would be much more efficient and thinner; one could be less than 1cm (0.4 inches) thick.
Both would improve their core reading features, such as a higher-contrast and faster display that may use E Ink's Pearl technology. They would likewise address a much needed storage upgrade by jumping from just 512MB of storage to 2GB. A new home screen is the only known interface change, but note taking would spread to the Pocket Edition.
No timetable has been given other than "soon," but neither device has been updated this year.
Any Sony upgrades would be vital, as its influence in e-reading has mostly evaporated in the past few years. Sony has just five percent of the US market for itself and has been pinched by both the high and low ends. At $139, the third-generation Kindle undercuts the pricing of even cheaper Sony readers while supplying Internet access. Readers willing to pay more have often jumped directly to Apple's iPad as it's currently the only major e-reading device to work as a true tablet with apps, color and video.