New Sony Readers: Coming Soon!September 10, 2007
(via ) is listing two new models of the Sony Reader as “available for pre-order.” The new machines appear to have specifications similar to the current model, but with double the internal storage (160 books versus 80 on the previous model), improved control layout, and two color styles to choose from.
Judging from appearance, the new control layout seems improved over the current model. The menu (back) button has been separated from the cursor control, fixing the previous non-intuitive combination. The rough-edged and unpleasant-to-use cursor joystick has been replaced with a smoother-looking rocker switch. The numbered buttons are on the right, so they will align with corresponding menu choices when shown on-screen in the default vertical orientation. The secondary paging buttons are now positioned on the right, too, so they can be accessed without interference from the case’s left flap.
The software is still Windows only, so Mac users and others will still have to via third-party software or a flash memory card. However, the Windows software is now listed as version 2.0 which presumably corresponds to improvements in the rather clunky 1.x software.
At first glance, these seem like nice incremental improvements. Unfortunately, the price remains $299. Sony’s experiments with reduced prices () were apparently more about clearing old inventory than a precursor to a general price drop. The new units’ pricing remains steep enough to ensure that the Reader will remain a niche product.
According to the ABT web site, availability is expected in October 2007.