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.

The Great E-reader Roundup

By Simon Munk for Style + Tech For Men

Books have taken a backseat to e-readers in the digital era. But with a bewildering range of gadgets — from the Apple iPad to the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook — how do you know which one offers the best story for consumers? Our head-to-head e-book bash-up will give you a great read on the situation.

Apple iPad

from $499 |

If you’re looking for something more than just an e-reader, then read no further. Wait, we have more to tell you! It fares brilliantly on its reading assignments … if you don’t mind a little screen-glare. Any LED screen is going to fare badly compared to e-ink on that score. But the iPad is capable of so much more than its e-reader rivals. First, it’s agnostic to any bookstore. It takes in apps from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and its own iBooks resource. Second, along with being able to surf the Web, it serves up games, comics and thousands of apps. Third, in terms of raw power and storage, it’s got more on those scores than any competitor. The price is another weak point, but since it’s the most fully-featured e-reader, it’s still tough to beat.

Verdict: Best all-around tablet that beats most e-readers.

Amazon Kindle

from $139 |

Absolutely the best e-reader on the bookshelf — that is, if you’re not looking for any bells and whistles. The Kindle boasts an exceptional 6-inch e-ink screen, as well as a reduced size and weight that bring it close to a digital paperback in portability. According to Amazon, its storage capacity has also doubled to 3,500 books. Plus, the Kindle now comes in Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi and 3G flavors — so you can instantly buy, download and read books just about anywhere. There’s also a new experimental Web browser, but the Kindle is really best for e-reading. Its page interface is easier and more pleasurable to read than any competitor’s, and the access to the Amazon store makes your reading list almost endless.

Verdict: Just looking to read? Look no further.


$249 |

The first mainstream color e-reader makes your mandatory reading list just in time for the holidays. Barnes & Noble’s NOOKcolor features Wi-Fi, an eight-hour reading battery and a 7-inch color screen that can display not just books, but also magazines, the Web and videos. It’ll even display some Android apps. It’s more than a standard e-reader, but also a bit less than a fully-featured tablet computer. Screen-wise, it suffers the same problems as the iPad: glare and a lack of smoothness in its text display. On top of that, it struggles to reconfigure larger magazines and newspaper pages (as well as many websites that haven’t formatted for mobile viewing) to its smaller, more pocket-friendly screen. Ultimately, the NOOKcolor is good for reading books and some other things — but until B&N sorts out a proper app store to support it, it’s not as much of a multimedia marvel as some of its competitors.

Verdict: Halfway between e-reader and tablet, but not quite either.

Blackberry PlayBook
$TBA |

Due out this spring, the PlayBook will be BlackBerry’s effort to produce fresher fruit than the iPad. It’s more powerful than the iPad on paper — with a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB memory and full Web support for Flash and HTML5. But it’s got a smaller, 7-inch screen and entirely new operating system software … so no existing BlackBerry apps will run on it. Even more troubling, Blackberry doesn’t have a great reputation for multimedia and user-friendly features, so it’s a bit of a leap for them to move from hardcore email and smartphones to mainstream consumer tablets. How good is it as an e-reader? We’ll have wait and see.

Verdict: The dark horse in the e-reader race, the PlayBook will have to amaze in order to gain top tablet honors.

Photo Credits: iPad, Kindle, NOOKColor, Blackberry PlayBook – Getty Images

iPad Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

Simon Munk is an award-winning journalist that specializes in consumer technology, video games and outdoor-product coverage for men. He’s written for Stuff and Blender magazines and was launch editor in chief of Stuff Gamer.

Samsung brings their eReader total to four

It seems like Samsung is indeed really serious in joining the eReader market.

Because aside from the eReaders they’ve unveiled on the press conference at the CES, they have two more eReaders on display on their booth.

In addition to the E6 (6-inch) and E101 (10-inch), Samsung apparently also have a 5-inch model and 6-inch model with a QWERTY keypad.

Similar to the E6 and E101, the two newly-unveiled models also have touchscreens and users can write directly on the screens using a stylus with a built-in electromagnet resonance (EMR).

The two is set to be released on March or April, months ahead of the E6 ($399) and the E101 ($699) which are both set to be launched on July. Pricing for the two new eReaders however aren’t available yet.


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 😉


Kindle: Most gifted item in Amazon


Before, a lot of people thought ebooks will never really be a hit and ebook readers aren’t a necessity. All of that changed with the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle.

For the first time ever, Amazon shoppers on Christmas day bought more books for their Kindles then they did the traditional paperbacks and hard-bounds.

Usually, on Christmas day, people are out there opening their received presents, not buying stuff. This time however, people who received the Kindle – and that’s a lot – immediately went to Amazon’s online store to purchase at least one ebook to try out their new gadget.

And just to show how much the Kindle has become a main-stream product, Amazon says the ebook reader is the “the most gifted item in Amazon’s history”.

Hmmn, I wonder how did its main competition – Barnes & Noble’s Nook – do during the holidays?


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.


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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