Thursday, July 27, 2006

Follow-up On eBook Readers

On Monday, I reported on a rumor that Apple was thinking about getting into the e-book device business. This at a time when consumers have been eagerly anticipating the release of e-book readers from both iRex and

Sony responded to the Apple rumor by announcing yet another delay in the release of their PRS 500 Portable Reader. Engadget reported on Tuesday that the Reader's release, already delayed from spring to summer, will now be available "in time for the holidays."

The PRS 500 is expected to retail for about $350--in contrast to iRex's iLiad, which retails at $811. I got to wondering what on earth the iLiad was offering that could be worth $450 more. In searching the Internet, I found a post on that does the comparison for me:

Sony: 6.9" by 4.9" by .5"
iRex: 6.1" by 8.5" by .63"

Sony: 8.8 ounces
iRex: 13.7 ounces

Sony: 6-inch SVGA 800X600 4 grey scales (same like the Sony Librie)
iRex: 8.1-inch XGA 1024x768 16 grey scales

Internal memory:
Sony: ? "approximately 80 unillustrated books"
iRex: 64MB RAM, 224MB FLASH

Expansion slots:
Sony: SD, Memory Stick
iRex: SD, CF II

Support e-book formats:
Sony: BBeB Book (Sony Librie), Adobe PDF, JPEG, MP3
iRex: Adobe PDF, XHTML, TXT, MP3, others in near future

Others interfaces:
Sony: headphone jack
iRex: headphone jack, WiFi 802.11b, 10/100Mb Ethernet

Sony: USD $299-$399
iRex: ? (We now know it's $811)

The iRex is bigger and heavier. But it also features the better screen,
better support for open formats, and better connectivity (which the Sony
obviously lacks in).

All of this is probably moot. If Apple releases an iPod that can offer consumers music, film AND books, both the Reader and the iLiad are going to have a tough row to hoe.

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