Sony Corp. announced plans to compete with Amazon.com by releasing a new e-book reader with wireless capability. Sony has sold e-book readers since 2006, but has been overshadowed by Amazon.com’s Kindle ever since its launch. Previous Sony readers operate with “electronic ink”, requiring users to connect the device to a computer in order to download books. Now the company plans to offer a reader that will compete with the latest version of the Kindle by allowing users to download materials over AT&T Inc.’s cellular network.
Users of Sony’s new reader will be able to view books from a variety of stores, unlike Kindle users, who can only download books from Amazon.com. Books downloaded to the new Sony reader can be transferred to and viewed on cell phones and a variety of other devices. The new reader will feature another significant difference from the Kindle: the ability to download books from local libraries. Each book will be available for 21 days with the use of a library card.
Sony began selling a smaller “Pocket Edition” e-book reader for $199 this week as well as a $299 larger, touch-screen version. Both of these versions have to be connected to a computer to download books. The Sony Reader Daily Edition with wireless capability will be offered for $399, but will not require any wireless fees to download materials, and will feature a 7-inch touch-screen. The most recent version of the Kindle is $299, but does not include touch-screen technology. The Sony Daily Edition is planned to hit stores in December.