Sony pulls the plug on its e-reader

In yet another sad news for Sony, the Japanese company has announced that production for their e-reader will cease after transferring its ebook business to Kobo.

“Final production of the current Reader model, PRS-T3, was made at the end of May,” a spokeswoman for Sony in Tokyo has written in an email. She also added that the products will be available for purchasing while stocks last and that there there no plans to manufacture more or design replacement.

Launched last year, the 6-inch PRS-T3 weighs 200 grams and has a battery life of six to eight weeks. It was make available in 20 countries except in the US.

The Japanese company was actually the first to come up with an e-reader using e-ink display that made long-time reading easier and extended the battery life. Amazon’s Kindle however eventually took over the e-reader market and since then has held its place with their huge range of ebook titles.

Earlier this year, Sony has also announced they are shedding their Vaio PC business to a Japanese investment firm as the company struggles to keep up with their restructuring efforts.

SolarKindle adds more reading time to your Kindle

Book lovers don’t have to bring a bulky book with them to enjoy reading their favorite novels nowadays. With the advent of inexpensive e-book readers, the once bulky books has turned into a seemingly thin and hi-tech piece of work.

Unfortunately this new technology has its limitations. Just like any other devices out there, it has a battery that can and will be drained in long term usage. That’s quite sad for readers who are at the stories most exciting part then the screen turns blank on them due to battery shortage.

But Amazon has found a way to help these troubled readers. They don’t have to fret about having their Kindle’s batteries drained on them. Because the SolarKindle is here.

The latter is a Kindle protective cover that has a solar panel attached to it. This solar panel is not only green, but it also lets you charge your Kindle and an hour of charging in the Sunlight would enable you to use your Kindle for 3 days. In low light conditions, the SolarKindle can be charged via a USB port. It also features an 800lux LED reading lamp to help you read in dark areas.

Currently, the SolarKindle works for the manual version of Kindle. A model for the Kindle Fire will be released later this year.

Not a bad add-on for your Kindle.

Skiff: A totally new (and bendy too!) ereader

Yes, a new electronic reader is debuting in the market and probably challenging Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Sony’s Reader.

Skiff, a Hearst-backed startup previously known as FirstPaper, will showcase its flexible, large screen e-reader at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Skiff Reader, unlike the other competitions, is pretty unique in its own way. As seen in the image, the device is very flexible and built to endure the daily wear and tear a reader daily undergoes.

So can it be so flexible? Instead of the usual glass-based display, the device’s 11.5-inch touchscreen is made up of a thin, bendable sheet of stainless-steel foil. The Skiff screen is designed by LG Display.

The Skiff is pretty portable too, weighing just over a pound and the battery lasting about a week of usage. The screen boasts of a 1200×1600 pixels, but without color.

Sprint will be offering the Skiff Reader in its U.S. retail locations later this year and digital content for the device will be delivered using the carrier’s 3G wireless network.

No word yet as to the device’s pricing so you guys have to wait a little bit longer to find out how much this neat reader will cost ya 😉


Nook buyers get $100 gift certificates

That is, if you ordered your device before November 30 but won’t receive it before December 24. The voucher can be used for shopping at Barnes & Noble’s retail Web site.

There won’t be a lot people receiving these gift certs though as the company says only “a very small percentage” of Nook buyers will not receive their device on the promised date of delivery.

“The vast majority of customers who pre-ordered Nooks and were given a pre-holiday estimated shipping date should receive their devices in time for the holidays,” Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating told InformationWeek in an e-mail.

With all the hoopla surrounding the Nook and what may be the device to challenge Kindle’s dominion on the ereader market, interested consumers who want to purchase the device now will have to wait for quite a while to receive their own unit. According to B&N’s site, orders placed today won’t ship until February 1.

The $259 Nook won’t also be available in the Barnes & Noble retail stores this month as previously promised. Instead, the units will be arriving in January and only demonstration models will be displayed (for now) for customers to give the ebook reader a try.


B&N’s Nook delayed for one week

Although Barnes & Noble is still keeping mum as to how many devices they are manufacturing, it seems very obvious to point out that it’s not just a measly number.

In a statement posted on the company’s Web site Sunday night, the book retailer says there will be a delay for the retail arrival of the Nook by one week – due of course, to high demand issue. The Nook will be hitting the stores in December 7 instead of the previously expected date of November 30.

The company has told Reuters on Sunday that there won’t be lot of stocks available in big stores when it becomes available next week.

“We expect to have them in our highest-volume stores on December 7th and in a very limited number,” Mary Ellen Keating, Barnes & Noble spokeswoman, told Reuters.

Those who pre-ordered their devices before November 20 will be receiving them before the holidays. Those who placed their orders after the said date will have to spend the holidays without the Nook in their hands, and expect to receive it sometime around January 4.

Announced in October, the Nook has been generating a huge interest (enough to cause them production delays :)) from consumers with its split-screen display, allowing for a black and white text display for the majority of the screen, and a smaller color display at the bottom used for control and navigation. Compared to the Kindle, the Nook also offers a microSD slot for memory expansion.

The Nook is being sold for $259.


Kindle gets a battery boost, native PDF reader

Since Barnes & Noble’s Nook are making huge waves in the market even before its release, Amazon’s Kindle has to keep up if they want to stay on top.

Announced today, Kindle now has an improved battery life when the wireless connection is turned on. Compared to its previous 4-hour battery life, the Kindle can now run up to seven days with the wireless activated. Battery life with the wireless connection turned off still remains, which is about two weeks.

“Battery power management for portable wireless devices is a complex technical area, and the battery life improvement announced today is the result of a six-month firmware improvement and testing program,” according to the press release.

In addition to the battery boost, Amazon has also added native PDF support to the Kindle. The company says users can now “read professional and personal documents in their original PDF format without conversion.” In order to read these PDF files, you can either email the files to your Kindle email address or transfer them via the USB connection. You can also easily convert your PDF files to the Kindle format by typing the word “Convert” in the subject of your email.

According to a press release, all new Kindles will be shipped with the battery boost and native PDF support. Users who already bought the Kindles before will be receiving the new enhancements via a firmware upgrade which will automatically be sent to them when the wireless connection is turned on.


Huge demand on the Nook delays production

Credit: Barnes & Noble

Is this finally the device to challenge the Kindle’s reign in the eBook reader market?

It sure looks like it, as Barnes and Noble, distributor of the Nook eReader, announced that it is experiencing production delays because of the huge demand for the device – and they haven’t even started shipping the devices yet.

Compared to Amazon’s Kindle which has a black and white display, the Nook provides a split-screen display, allowing for a black and white text display for the majority of the screen, and a smaller color display at the bottom.

Additional features of the Nook include Wi-Fi access capability and a touch-screen display. The device will be built on the Google Android operating system.

All of these plus access to Barnes & Noble’s extensive of library, the Nook is being marketed for $259, the same price as the Kindle. Kinda makes it an easy choice, doesn’t it? 😉


Plastic Logic’s reader offers Wi-fi, Powerpoint and Excel support

Another player in the Ebook market dominated by Amazon’s Kindle and Sony reader will be coming in from Plastic Logic.

Yesterday, the company announced that they are preparing to release an ebook reader that’s aimed at business professionals.

Prototypes of the QUE were demonstrated last month at the DEMOFall 08 conference. The device is set to make another er- public appearance at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7 next year.

So what makes this electronic reader different from its competitors?

The QUE’s 10-inch diagonal screen does not only show black and white electronic display, it also boasts a capability to support PowerPoint and Excel documents, which cannot be found on others.

Like the Kindle DX, the QUE includes connection to a 3G wireless network for downloading books. But unlike its competitor, the QUE also comes in with an integrated Wi-Fi.

Plastic Logic plans to offer content through an online QUE store powered by Barnes & Noble. No word yet as to when the device will be available in the market and how much it will cost.

“More than an eReader, QUE means business,” Richard Archuleta, chief executive of Plastic Logic, said in a statement.

Hmmn, I wonder what Kindle has to say to this.  🙂


Asus to launch cheapest ebook reader

Credit: Times Online

And this isn’t just like any other reader too.

Asus, the company who first launched netbooks, is doing it again and is now planning on releasing a low-cost gadget alternative for electronic book readers they’ve dubbed the Eee Reader.

According to Jerry Shen, Asus president, two versions are set to be available in the market by the end of the year: a budget and a premium version.

The premium version is the most interesting though. Unlike current ebook readers (and yes, I mean Kindle and Amazon 😉 ) Asus claims that this one will have two screens connected by a hinged spine that can open like a traditional book. One screen can be used for viewing ebooks (pages can be “turned” through the touchscreen) while the other page can be used for browsing web pages. One of the screens can also be used as a virtual keyboard, according to a Times report.

Other features on the Eee Reader has that are not found on typical ebook readers include full color screens and may also include speakers, a webcam and a mic for Skype.

“Our ethos is innovation — as our brand is less well known, we have to run faster than the competition to develop new types of products,” said Asus. “Any such product — including an ereader — has to have the right combination of functionality and price. No one is going to buy one for £1,000.”

The budget version of the Eee Reader would not be as high-tech as its premium sibling though and would “take on the competition on price rather than features”, according to Times.

No word yet as to how much the readers will be priced, but expect it to be lower than the competitions. 🙂


More apologies from Amazon over deleted Kindle ebooks

It seems like Amazon isn’t done apologizing for what they did over the illegally sold copies of George Orwell’s novels and they’re doing everything they can to get back on people’s good graces.

The company is now ready with not just one or two, but three options for their peace offering: a redelivered copy of the novels, a gift certificate worth $30, or a check for $30. These were said in an email sent to Kindle owners Thursday, a copy of which was given to CNET News by a reader.

As you may all remember, the internet was all abuzz in July when Amazon remotely deleted copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from the Kindle devices of readers who purchased them. The company said the ebooks were placed in the Kindle library by a publisher who did not have legal rights to the novel. This move generated lots of angry outcries from the Kindle owners, civil libertarians and customer advocates , and even a lawsuit  filed by a student whose annotations for 1984 were deleted along with the novel.

Owners of Kindle readers whose copies of the novels were deleted can contact Amazon through and ask for either another copy, a gift cert or a check.

Oh, and by the way, if you made annotations in the ebook, you’ll be glad to hear they’re returning the ebook along with your notes – so you don’t have to file a lawsuit.


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