Sony PRS-505: eBook Reader

An image of Sony’s updated eBook reader, the PRS-505, surfaced on Engadget that linked to Abt Electronics. However, the page on Abt Electronics is gone. The new unit seems to have a few changes, but still too many buttons. In a world of touch, all of these buttons make it look a bit old even before its release.

  • The power button has moved from the side (left bottom) to the top. This is an improvement. But. It is still a slide-on slide-off design, similar to the PSP and other Sony electronics gear. I personally like my iPhone’s simpler button.
  • The forward/back page buttons move from the left to the right. True, most are right-handed and this seems to be the right move. But. There are 10 other small buttons right next to those and I foresee at least a few accidental pushes of the 7 and 8 buttons.
  • I would recommend taking a page out of Apple’s UI design and simply integrating the menu button into the center of the directional pad.
  • There’s so much more to fix… and this device can be so much more…

The PRS-505 can be a revolutionary device: replacement for textbooks, manuals, and books in general. It’s just that Sony seems to be having a bit of a problem with the user interface. I say, go touch, and get rid of most of the buttons. Also, put in a solar cover so it automatically recharges. I hope Sony got rid of the power input and simply used the mini-USB as a charge connection. Before Abt Electronics took the page down, it seems as though Engadget got a glimpse of the price: $299.

Source: Abt Electronics via Engadget

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Update 2007.10.02

Engadget is reporting that the PRS-505 is official and will be available sometime this month for $300. There are two color choices in addition to silver: dark blue. The USB mass storage mode is a very nice step toward increasing the usability of the PRS-505. I wonder if Sony packed in a good PRS-505 printer driver so you can print anything you want into Sony’s eBook format, copy it over, and carry it with you anywhere you go. Now that would be nice. Just $300 and available now.

Oooh, there are accessories! Let’s start off with the luxurious premium leather covers that are a very reasonable $40 in black or pink, and some less-than-premium ones (only good for PRS-500, weird) for $30. Then there’s a LED reading light you can clip on to your PRS-505 for reading at night for just $15.

I like nice leather. Wish there was a soft premium leather cover for the iPhone by Sony. Haha.

This book light might be just good enough for regular books. I don’t think I’ve seen a Sony-branded book light before, so as long as it’s not made in China, the quality might be top notch.

And finally, you can engrave your Sony PRS-505. If Sony would have just watched what Apple did with its iPod line, this would have happened a long time ago.

[tags]Sony, eBook, Electronic Paper Display, Bistable Display, E Ink[/tags]

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