Sony will begin selling updated versions of its Reader Pocket and Reader Touch devices today, but it is still months away from releasing its new Daily Reader with WiFi access. In practical terms, that means that Sony (NYSE: SNE) will not be directly competing with the Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) Nook, but Steve Haber, president of Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division, isn’t too concerned about that. “We like to say that we’ve been looking at the e-books market through a crystal ball and a rear-view mirror, and that has proven a lot of early assumptions we and others have made wrong,” Haber told paidContent during a demo of the new Readers. Among the surprises that Sony executives say they’ve discovered: WiFi isn’t that big a deal to e-book readers.
—Touchscreens across the board: The big news right now then is that all Sony Readers will now have touchscreens, along with a stylus for making handwritten notes and illustrations on top of the content “page.” The other major change is that all the devices weigh a bit less than their predecessors—a natural and expected progression, but one worth noting.
The new releases also boast a crisper display with new E Ink Pearl software and a screen designed to reduce glare to a greater degree than before. The prices of the three new devices range from $179 for the Pocket (available in silver or pink shells) to $299 for the Daily Edition (which comes in silver and black). One added bonus for the new Reader Touch Edition, which costs $229 for a black or red model, is that it now has 32GB of additional memory and the ability to play MP3 and AAC audio files.