Can Amazon rekindle the the smoldering fire of e-book devices? I’ve waited a month since Engadget put this scoop out on their website–the Amazon Kindle. News of Amazon’s apparent attempt to go head-to-head with Sony by launching its own e-ink reader were thwarted, however, by a withdrawn FCC application and relative silence from the online book retailer. We were all left guessing.
This slightly less-than-casual observer still believes that there is a market for good e-book devices that will be born out by mass digitiztion projects, increased wireless access, and an awakening on the part of publishers (OK, maybe that last one is just a dream).
This new device is reportedly equipped with a 6-inch 800 x 600 display, a thumb keyboard and scroll wheel, 256MB of internal storage, a mini USB port, headphone jack, and EV-DO data (Evolution-Data Optimized is a wireless broadband data standard being adopted by many mobile phone providers). No word on price.
This month, Sony launched Sony Connect, an online bookstore companion to its e-ink Sony Reader–a very cool device with a maddening business model of proprietarily tying content to a device. However, Sony has made deals with several publishers for an impressive (if ecclectic) list of available titles. At $350, it’s still a little pricey, but Sony is reporting high demand on its website: “Due to overwhelming demand, new Sony Portable Reader orders may ship as late as November 30th.”
I can only imagine how priorities play out at Sony when deciding between shipping an e-book reader or shipping PlayStation 3. With all this talk of gaming in libraries, I’m starting to wonder which priority libraries would prefer.
[This post originally appeared as part of American Libraries’ Hectic Pace Blog and is archived here.]