By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 9:23 am
Until now, discussions of the e-book rivalry between Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader have had to point out that Sony’s gadget lacked the wireless connectivity that was probably the Kindle’s best feature. No longer: At a press event at the New York Public Library, Sony announced the Reader Daily Edition, its first e-reader that lets you buy books via wireless broadband. The carrier in this case is AT&T (the Kindle uses Sprint) and the Daily Edition will ship in December for $399. (Two cheaper Sony e-reader models, sans wireless, are available now.)
The Daily Edition will be $100 more than the comparable Kindle; without trying it, it’s hard to gauge whether it’s worth the extra bucks. (It does have a touch-screen interface rather than the Kindle’s somewhat clunky buttons and tiny joystick.) And over the long haul, Sony’s support for the open EPub e-book standard could be a major advantage over Amazon’s use of its proprietary format.
In any event, it’s nice to see that Sony is responding to the Kindle’s dominance of a market it pioneered by redoubling its efforts. Next year should bring lots of e-book developments–such as the release of the Plastic Logic reader–but for now, it’s an Amazon-vs.-Sony war, and they’re both going great guns.