Sony Kindles Competition (Updated)
The $399 device, called the Daily Edition, will be available in December, Steve Haber, president of Sony’s reader unit, said at an event in New York yesterday. The model will use the third-generation network of AT&T Inc., the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier.
Sony, seeking to rebound from two straight quarterly losses, aims to tap growing demand for digital books and electronic publications. The new reader will be able to hold more than 1,000 e-books, compared with as many as 3,500 for the Kindle.
I’m old. And cranky.
It’s the Old Man Card. After a certain age, I get to play it and nobody can stop me. (One day, you will get to play it, or play the Old Lady Card, yourself. It is, indeed, a lot of fun the reach an age when They Can’t Stop You.)
I like gadgets as much as the next guy. A home improvement project is an excuse to buy a new power tool. I love making computers do what I want them to do (and curse when they don’t, just like everyone else).
I already have two laptops, a netbook, two desktops, and a cell phone with an ebook reader program. Not to mention several hundred Real Books on Paper (some of which I’ve read) on various shelves and in the attic, plus a printer I can use to print ebooks on paper, which gives me the ultimate ebook: for portability, random access, cross-platform, it’s paper, baby. Can’t beat it.
Why would I need a single purpose device that reads only ebooks and costs more than my netbook, for Pete’s sake?
And why would I need a subscription to anything when there is Project Gutenberg?
If Sony delivers on the promised feature set, it has a chance of creating a nice e-reader business.
Will it “kill the Kindle?” Who cares. Remember, the e-reader category is still in its infancy. Analysts estimate that only three million devices will have been sold by the end of 2009. Other companies like Plastic Logic have plans to introduce devices; everyone expects that Apple will jump into the market as well. Amazon surely has more innovations up its sleeve.
It’s possible that an overwhelming winner will emerge over time, but it’s equally possible that the category will be big enough to support a number of players.