Sony is taking the opposite route of its big rivals Amazon and Barnes & Noble with its own branded E-Reader electronic-ink based digital book reading devices. Unlike Amazon, which has introduced lower prices for the latest Kindle, and Barnes & Noble, which has engaged in a price war with its nook to remain competitive against the Kindle, Sony is taking quite the opposite approach. Rather than reducing prices, Sony is adding more features to its Sony E-Reader to justify a price hike of about $20 over the previous generation E-Readers.
The new Sony E-Readers boasts more responsive touchscreens and a lighter and smaller aluminum form factor. The latest refresh would make the entry-level Reader Pocket Edition a $179 product, up $20 from the last generation, and brings the price of the Touch Edition to $229 and Daily Edition to $299. The touchscreens are said to be more sensitive on these readers because of Sony’s use of infrared sensors, and the electronic ink displays now offer better contrast and clarity.
While the Daily Edition offers the 3G connectivity found in the Kindle and nook, it is also priced higher than both of its competitors. Additionally, the lower cost Reader models lack wireless connectivity while Amazon and Barnes & Noble have added a low-cost WiFi-only model to their electronic readers to lure in customers.
It’s still too early to tell if Sony can lure away dedicated Kindle and nook customers with its better touch-sensitive screens on top of the higher contrast electronic ink displays, but in a market driven by price drops the Reader series stand out as being a tad pricey.