Sony Readers have been hard to recommend lately, especially given the intense competition in the e-book market. With both Amazon and Barnes & Noble offering less expensive devices with onboard Wi-Fi enabled stores, the Sony lineup was starting to look a bit dated. It also certainly didn’t help matters that they announced their public refusal to participate in the recent price war, citing their attention to quality as a defining characteristic. The flagship Sony Reader’s recent claim to fame has been their touchscreen displays, but many have criticized the device for this reason as well since the glass overlay can be difficult to angle against the natural light required to enjoy e-ink displays. Since the current generation Sony PRS-600 doesn’t have any sort of built in backlight, overhead lights create an iPad style glare that can be maddening at times.
With such glaring issues in the lineup many had written Sony out of the market, but according to Cnet’s “most trusted sources”, the company is preparing to launch new models named the PRS-350 and PRS-650, both of which are rumored to feature some sort of touch interface. We hope this means Sony has addressed the glare issues mentioned above, and hopefully they will recognize that there is still a market for single purpose reading devices, and that touch isn’t necessarily the only way to go. No word on if the devices will feature Wi-Fi or 3G, but if they plan to continue charging more than Amazon or Barnes & Noble my guess is they simply can’t afford not to.
What does Sony need to do in your opinion to stay in the game?