Sony Reader

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Sony Reader (PRS-700)
Sony Reader (PRS-700)
Manufacturer Sony
Screen 600×800 px,
170 dpi resolution,
6" diagonal,
8-level grayscale
E Ink Electronic paper
Operating system MontaVista Linux
Input Touchscreen
Memory 420 MB Accessible
Memory card Memory Stick Duo Up to 32 GB, SDHC Up to 32 GB
Connectivity USB 2.0
Battery Lithium-ion
Physical size 5 1/9" × 6 7/9" × 13/32" (127.6 × 174.3 × 9.7 mm)
Weight 10 oz (283 g)
Form factor Slate
Predecessor Sony PRS-505

The Sony Reader is an e-book reader. It uses an electronic paper display developed by E Ink Corporation that has 166 dpi resolution, four levels of grayscale, is viewable in direct sunlight, requires no power to maintain a static image, and is usable in portrait or landscape orientation. The reader uses an iTunes Store-like interface to purchase books from Sony Connect eBook store. It also can display Adobe PDFs, ePub format, personal documents, blogs, RSS newsfeeds, JPEGs, and Sony's proprietary BBeB ("BroadBand eBook") format. The Reader can play unencrypted MP3 and AAC audio files.

The digital rights management rules of the Reader allow any purchased e-book to be read on up to six devices (at least one of those 6 must be a PC). Although you cannot totally share purchased eBooks on other people’s devices and accounts, you will have the opportunity to register five Readers to your account and share your books accordingly. At this time Sony has no plans to introduce time-expiring books in the U.S.

The sony Reader competes with other e-paper devices— the Amazon Kindle, iRex iLiad, the Jinke Hanlin eReader, and CyBook by Bookeen.


[edit] Models and availability

There have been three models to date. The PRS-500 was made available in the United States in September 2006. On 1 November 2006, Readers went on display and for sale at Borders bookstores throughout the US. Borders had an exclusive contract for the Reader until the end of 2006. From April 2007, Sony Reader has been sold in the US by multiple merchants, including Fry's, Costco, Borders and Best Buy. The eBook Store from Sony is only available to U.S. or Canadian residents or to customers who purchased a U.S.-model reader with bundled eBook Store credit.

On July 24, 2008, Sony announced that the PRS-505 Reader would be available in the UK with a launch date of September 3, 2008. Waterstone's is the official retail partner and the Reader is available at selected stores such as Argos, Sony Centres and Dixons; while a red edition is available exclusively from John Lewis.

[edit] PRS-500

The PRS-500 has a six-inch E-ink display and a thickness of 13 mm. There is an internal memory of 64 MB. This model was superseded by the PRS-505 in 2008.

[edit] PRS-500 specifications

  • Size: 175.6 x 123.6 x 13.8 mm (6.9" x 4.9" x 0.5")
  • Weight: 250 g (9 oz)
  • Display:
    • size: 15.5 cm (6 in) diagonal (approx 1/4 area of letter-sized page)
    • resolution: 170 dpi, 4-level gray scale
    • portrait: 90.6 x 122.4 mm (3.57" x 4.82"), 600 x 800 pixels | effective 115.4 x 88.2 mm (4.54 x 3.47 in), 754 x 584 pixels
    • minimum font size: 6 pt legible, 7 pt recommended
  • Memory: 64 MB standard, Memory Stick (Pro Duo High Speed not supported. Normal memory sticks are only supported up to 4 GB, despite Sony compatibility claims [1]) or SD card expansion up to 2 GB (some non-SDHC 4GB cards may work)
  • Lithium-ion battery, up to 7500 "page turns" per charge
  • PC interface: USB port

[edit] PRS-505

On October 2, 2007, Sony announced the PRS-505, an updated version of the Reader. The 505 keeps the 6" E-ink display of the original Reader, but uses an improved version of E Ink's imaging film with faster refresh time, brighter white state, and 8-level grayscale.

PRS-505 is thinner than its predecessor (8 mm vs. 13 mm) and comes with more internal memory (256 MB vs. 64 MB).

Other new product features included auto-synchronization to a folder on a host PC, support for the USB Mass Storage Device profile, and full USB charging capability (the PRS-500 could only be recharged via USB if the battery was not fully drained, and if the Sony Connect Reader software was installed on the host PC). Also, adding books to "Collections" (a feature to organize and group book titles) is now possible on the storage card, unlike the PRS-500 model.

Version 1.1 firmware, available as a free download since July 24, 2008 adds support for the EPUB format, Adobe Digital Editions 1.5 and Adobe DRM protected PDF files, automatic reflow of PDF files formated for larger pages enlarges the text to improve readability, and support for high capacity SDHC memory cards.[2]

[edit] PRS-505 specifications

  • Size: 175 x 122 x 8 mm (6.9" x 4.8" x 0.3")
  • Weight: 250 g (9 oz)
  • Display:
    • size: 15.5 cm (6 in) diagonal (approx 1/4 area of letter-sized page)
    • resolution: 170 dpi, 8-level gray scale
    • portrait: 90.6 x 122.4 mm (3.57" x 4.82"), 600 x 800 pixels | effective 88.2 x 115.4 mm (3.47 x 4.54 in), 584 x 754 pixels
    • minimum font size: 6 pt legible, 7 pt recommended
  • Memory: 256 MB standard (200 MB Accessible), Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo 8 GB, SD card up to 2 GB (some non-SDHC 4GB cards may work), or up to 32 GB with SDHC cards and version 1.1 firmware
  • Lithium-ion battery, up to 7500 "page turns" per charge
  • PC interface: USB port 2.0
  • Available case colors:
    • PRS505/LC: Dark Blue
    • PRS505/SC: Silver
    • PRS505SC/JP: Custom Skin (James Patterson Special Edition)
    • PRS505/RC: Sangria Red (introduced in August 2008)

[edit] PRS-700

Unlike Sony's LIBRIé, a close cousin of the Sony Reader, the PRS-500 and PRS-505 offer no way for the user to annotate a digital book as it lacks a keyboard. This was addressed by the release of the PRS-700, announced on October 2, 2008, which has a touchscreen that can be used as a virtual keyboard. It became available in the United States early November 2008 at a MSRP of $399, in April 2009 it was selling for $349.99. Improvements of PRS-700 vs. the PRS-505 include the following:

  • The 6-inch e-ink display (same resolution as before) is now a touch screen, removing the need for the 10 side buttons.
  • Note taking and virtual keyboard, made possible by the new touch screen.
  • Page turning buttons remain but can also be accomplished by touch screen gestures.
  • LED lighting for use in poor lighting conditions.
  • Internal storage is doubled to 512 MB.

[edit] PRS-700 specifications

  • Size: Approx. 174.3 x 127.6 x 9.7 mm (6 7/9" x 5 1/9" x 0.4")
  • Weight: 283.5 g (10 oz)
  • Display:
    • size: 15.5 cm (6 in) diagonal (approx 1/4 area of letter-sized page)
    • resolution: 170 dpi, 8-level gray scale
    • integrated touchscreen
  • Memory: 512 MB standard (350 eBooks at 1.2 MB each average, 420 MB available), Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo 8 GB, SDHC card expansion up to 32 GB
  • Lithium-ion battery, up to 7500 "page turns" per charge
  • PC Interface: USB port 2.0
  • Built-in LED reading light

[edit] Limitations

The Sony Reader PRS-500/505 screen has a very low refresh rate. This prevented Sony from implementing sophisticated interactive menu-driven software and scrolling on zoomed pages. This makes it impossible to scroll around a zoomed 8.5 x 11 inch document[3]. This means that the devices are not suited for viewing most PDF documents that are in 8.5 x 11 inch format. The PRS-700 has an improved screen controller which allows faster menus, paging and zoom. Unfortunately users have reported a significant glare in PRS-700 model, most likely due to the special coating that was added to accommodate the touch screen.

[edit] Formats supported

DRM-free Text: BBeB Book (LRF), PDF, TXT, RTF, ePub. Typefaces in PDF files formatted for 216 x 280 mm (8.5 x 11 inch) pages may be too small to read comfortably. Such files can be reformatted for the Reader screen size with Adobe Acrobat Professional, but not by Adobe Reader software. The Reader does not directly support Microsoft Word DOC format. The 'CONNECT Reader' application uses Word to convert the .DOC files to RTF before sending them to the Reader.

DRM Text: BBeB Book (LRX); Secure PDF and ePub.

DRM-free Audio: MP3 and AAC

Image: JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP (Loading an animated GIF will freeze the Reader)

RSS: Limited to 20 featured blogs such as Engadget and Wired, no ability to add others and no auto-update (as of 2006-12-01)

The Reader supports TXT and RTF documents with Latin character set only. Other character sets (such as Cyrillic, for example) are not displayed correctly, but Cyrillic patches are available for Russian users (see the site [1]). Sony Customer Support have confirmed that units sold in the US only work with Latin characters (as of 2007-03-02).

[edit] Operating systems

[edit] Windows

Sony Reader comes bundled with Sony's proprietary software called Sony eBook Library (formally called Sony Connect). It is similar to iTunes in nature and requires Windows XP or later, an 800 MHz processor, 128 MB of RAM, and 20 MB of hard disk space. This software does not work on the 64-bit versions of Windows XP. 64-bit Windows Vista is supported since Sony eBook Library version for the 505 and 700 models only.[4]

[edit] Mac OS X and Linux

Sony eBook Library is not officially supported on Mac OS X or Linux based systems, although when the device is connected it grants access to its internal flash memory as though it were a USB Mass Storage device (on the 505 and 700 only) allowing the user to transfer files directly. See the Third party tools section below for a third-party software utility that provides comprehensive support for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

[edit] Third party tools

Several third-party tools exist for the Sony Reader. For example, the PRS Browser for Mac OS X from Docudesk allows Macintosh users to manage content on the Sony Reader. Users can also use the free software library and utility calibre (formerly known as libprs500), written by Kovid Goyal, to communicate with the Reader and manage their digital library. calibre can convert many ebook formats as well as collate multiple HTML pages into a single ebook file with an automatically-generated table of contents. calibre can also manage RSS subsctiptions, including scheduled pushes of newsfeeds to the reader. It has both a command line and graphical interface, and is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. calibre notably does not offer Windows 64-bit support for the PRS-500 model either.

[edit] Internal OS

According to the operating manual the Reader runs the MontaVista Linux Professional Edition operating system.

[edit] Sales

In December 2008, Sony disclosed that it had sold 300,000 units of its Reader Digital Book globally since the device launched in October 2006.[5]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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