Sony is another major player in the eBook reader market, offering three different models of its Sony Reader unit (see Figure 4). All three models use E-ink Pearl technology and touchscreen displays; the main differences are screen size and price.
The Sony Reader Pocket Edition is the smallest and most portable of the bunch, with a 5” screen; it sells for $179. (Actually, it’s the smallest and lightest eBook reader on the market, period.) The Daily Edition is a bit larger, with a 6” screen; it sells for $229. The Touch Edition is the Papa Bear of this brood, with a larger 7” display; it sells for $299.
Figure 4 Three versions of the Sony ReaderPocket Edition, Touch Edition, and Daily Edition.
All three Sony Readers are eBook-only devices; there’s not a lot of extra functionality built-in. In fact, the Pocket Edition doesn’t even offer MP3 music playback (the other models do); only the Touch Edition has built-in WiFi and rudimentary web browsing.
While the three Sony Readers are good machines, Sony lacks the same sort of online bookstore integration that makes the Kindle and NOOK so easy to use. You can, of course, download EPUB-format books from B&N’s NOOKbook Store to read on a Sony Reader, but it’s not as smooth an experience as you get with the NOOK. And, unfortunately, there’s no way to read Amazon MOBI books on Sony’s devices.
One distinguishing feature of the Sony Readers is that they’re the only units offering E-ink Pearl displays with touchscreen capability. This is accomplished by adding a layer of touchscreen glass on top of the normal E-ink screen; the result, unfortunately, is a slightly less-bright display than found in other E-ink units.