It looks like once again Sony is blowing a chance to grab a piece of a market or even develop a new one. They’ve introduced a big ereader with a 13″ screen, but are selling it for $1100, instead of the $300 or so that it’s probably worth. Who in their right minds is going to pay $1100 for a black-and-white ereader that Sony has limited to reading PDFs, when they could buy an iPad or Android tablet for half the price, or less? Sony claims they’re aiming it at “professionals”, but in the business world I live in, you have to get technology purchases past the accounting department first.
As MarketWatch point out, Sony is missing a big opportunity here. A 13″ ereader would be perfect for newspapers and a lot of magazines, even limited to black and white. And if it could display ebook formats, it’d make a wonderful ereader. But $1100? What were they thinking?
A short while ago I sat down in Boston with Giovanni Mancini, director of product development at E Ink, and got an early peak at Sony’s new “Digital Paper” product. This is basically the closest anyone has yet come to a digital piece of paper.
It uses E Ink’s new “Mobius” display and proprietary Sony technology. It is the size of a letter-sized piece of paper—which makes its screen more than four times the size of a regular e-reader.
It’s excellent. The screen is bright and clear and the page turns are fast. The product is light, about 13 ounces. The battery lasts for a month. It has a touch screen so you can mark up documents and so on.
This could be the future of reading. This could be the future of newspapers and magazines. (It’s so much better than trying to read the news on a tiny 6-inch screen, or, indeed, on a tablet). This could be the future of documents.
I know that 90% of the population no longer reads anything longer than 140 characters, and that those of us who still read, when we could be playing Angry Birds or watching that interminable shaggy dragon story “Game of Thrones,” are just a bunch of Luddite wierdos. (David Carr at the New York Times admits he is basically abandoning reading for watching TV.)
But some of us are still out there. And this is just what we were looking for.
The only problem? Sony just launched the Digital Paper in the U.S. with a sale price of $1,100.