Sony Reader

Sarah is already all over it but I’m going to chime in about Sony’s release of an eInk/Paper device in the US. I’ve been interested in their Librie for some time, and think this product solves some of that devices issues (not being able to read PDFs, HTML, or text files, etc..) though I’m sure it doesn’t solve (read: eliminate) all of the lame DRM.

Sarah, and Bill Drew in her post’s comments are right: Sony’s Reader is a one-trick, non-converged pony. Sad little pony. If the Librie failed in gadget crazy Japan, does the Reader have a chance in the US? Seems doubtful. And are Americans as interested in reading books as they are listening to their iPods? Ha.

It is still something to get a bit excited about, however, because the availability of this device brings us one step closer to having eInk devices that actually do multiple things. In 1999 I heard Neil Gershenfeld on NPR talking about his book When Things Start to Think and read the book shortly thereafter. Seven years later (that’s quite a long time when it comes to computer technology) we’re starting to see his musings about ePaper come to fruition. Having the daily news downloaded into some ePaper that can be folded, stuffed into a briefcase, and read later is intriguing, especially if I don’t have to worry about battery life. Yeah, I can do these things with the NYT, but it isn’t interactive, and I can’t tell it to not include sections for which I don’t care. Also, the minimalist in my loves the (purely) theoretical possibility of being able to download any! book! into something the size of a Chick Tract. Of course, we might be seeing most of our ePaper in the grocery store…

Here’s an image of the Reader which doesn’t look half as neat as the Librie. The photos from Sony look a bit better.

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