In recent weeks there's been lots of news about new e-readers hitting the market. The Cool-er is out. Samsung's just released its first e-book reader in Korea. Plastic Logic is talking up its partnerships with Barnes & Noble and AT&T. And the Kindle 2 had a price drop to $299.
But what's up with Sony? True, its $400 PRS-700 hasn't been out that long, but surely the company has to put out a new e-reader sometime soon or risk losing that precious piece of market and mind share it currently enjoys in the e-reader space?
Well, we've barely heard a peep about a new Reader, but there's been a little activity over on the MobileRead forums. Back in June forum member forkyfork wrote he heard from a manager at Books-a-Million that Sony is coming out with a new e-reader in August. The manager "mentioned that it's going to have Wi-Fi, bigger screen, and more memory. When I asked him if it would have a touch screen, he said 'no.' When asked what the price point would be, he said 'most likely $300,' which might explain why they [Sony] are trying to clear out the PRS-505's now."
Now, it's hard to put much stock in a message board comment from a random reader, especially one who goes by forkyfork, but I've heard from a few sources outside Sony that they expect Sony to have something new fairly soon. So, why not August?
Hopefully, the new Reader, whenever it does arrive, will only be sightly larger and not blown up to the size of the Kindle DX.
When it released the PRS-700, Sony did talk about how it was looking at a wireless option, so it would seem likely that its next model would offer this feature. Also, while we like the touch-screen interface of the PRS-700, the screen did suffer from glare and contrast issues. We also assume a nontouch model would be cheaper to produce, which would help Sony keep the retail price of a new model under $300. At this point, it really needs to match the Kindle 2's price or better yet, go slightly cheaper.