After it has loomed in the background for months and months without even trying to make a splash, Sony has finally brought something new to the table in the e-reader market. The new versions of Sony's Reader line not only incorporate the same e-ink technology that has made Kindle users so happy, it also incorporates a brand new kind of touch-screen interface.
Instead of a clunky design where users have to press down on the screen while they're reading a book, these new Readers incorporate infrared technology to determine where the user's finger is. This allows for touch-based controls without the user ever needing to physically touch the screen.
PC World calls the result "compelling" and said the tech was "highly responsive."
However, the price on Sony's Reader still puts it out of play with the new competition. The Pocket Edition of the touch-screen Reader is $179, while bigger versions sell for $229 and $299. Meanwhile, there's a Kindle available for under $140 and the rest of the market seems to be snuggling around the $150 price point.
Sony electronics have always had a premium over the bottom-of-the-barrel electronics companies, but in the e-reader market, it's way behind in the headlines.
For a while after the market began to heat up, Sony seemed to not even care about the competition. It did manage to ride the coattails of the Kindle and Nook, as sales across the board for all e-readers increased. However, it's not until recently that it has actively pushed to make front-page news.
The new versions of Sony's Reader launch today at Borders and other retailers nationwide.