Sorry to be a grouch but the admittedly sparse details we know about Sony’s leaked new ebook readers really aren’t that exciting.
Maybe it’s because I’ve not long had my Sony PRS-505, but I can’t excited about the entry level PRS–300’s reduced 5” screen even if does boast more internal memory and despite being a big iPhone fan, I’m no more excited about the new PRS-600’s touchscreen.
Don’t get me wrong, touchscreens are great on smartphones, they allow for lightweight devices which can make the most of limited space, increasing the screens to something you can just about use to surf the web and they avoid those fiddly ‘joysticks’ we used to have to navigate through menus with making the aforementioned surfing much easier.
However, try as I might, I can’t see how the same considerations come into play on an ebook reader, pressing a well placed button to turn the page is surely easier than swiping your finger in some vain effort to replicate the action of physically turning the page?
Plus, non-touchscreen readers have a huge advantage – there’s no need to spend your time wiping down the screen to avoid peering through fingerprints.
Still, at least Sony seem to have eschewed a WiFi connection, a feature I really don’t understand the need for. Sure, I understand the theoretical attraction of pulling books straight down to the device but I’m sceptical about the real world demand for it.
Do that many people really feel the urge to buy a new book while out and about? Do a lot of people suddenly find their reader devoid of any unread titles? I could be wrong but I just don’t see it.
Also on the plus side it seems Sony (in the US anyhow) are finally promising a Mac version of their eBook Library Software so we Mac users will no longer need to rely on having access to a Windows PC to get their reader up and running.
Lord only knows why this wasn’t available sooner. I mean, if you’re looking to sell a new, relatively niche, high price electronic device aren’t Mac users exactly the people you’d target? Apparently not in Sony’s case.
Grumbles and grouch impressions aside, the expected imminent launch of these new readers, following as it does the arrival of other new devices, must surely imply the time of the ebook as a mainstream concept is just around the corner.
If only publishers and retailers would give it that final push by lowering the prices of the actual books…