It looks like Kiwi Christmas shoppers will be spoilt for choice this year on the ebook reading front. The much-delayed Sony ebook readers will ship sometime in October, according to an NBR report. This follows the arrival of the also-much-delayed Kindle last month.
And unlike the Kindle, which shipped to Australian buyers almost a year before New Zealand customers got it, the Sony range has been absent from both markets until now. It’s a delay that will cost Sony some momentum but it’s certainly good news for the Kobo-powered ebook stores on both sides of the Tasman (Whitcoulls in New Zealand, Borders and Angus & Roberston in Oz).
Sony’s offering provides a premium brand name reader that will be tuned for easy access to these Kobo-powered ebook stores. Sony has been an early champion of the book industry’s open ePub ebook format in contrast to Amazon with its proprietary Kindle format.
Sony will release two of its units, the Sony Reader Touch Edition which sports the same 6-inch diagonal eInk screen as the Kobo and Kindle, and the smaller Pocket Edition with a 5-inch screen. Both editions have a touch screen which many people prefer for navigation though usually at the slight expense of lower contrast.
Neither Sony model sports wireless, either via WiFi or 3G, so like the Kobo will need to be connected to a PC to load up on ebooks. Sony does have such a model, the Daily Edition, a slightly larger 7-inch model with both WiFi and 3G (cellular) wireless access but there are no plans at this stage for it to come to New Zealand.
The Pocket Edition will be NZ$299 and the Sony Reader Touch Edition will be NZ$399. NBR has a good comparison table showing how Sony’s line-up will compare with the new Kindle and Whitcoulls’ Kobo eReader.
And here’s a video intro from Sony New Zealand.