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Old 05-25-2011, 12:24 AM   #1
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Will Kobo, Nook and Amazon Touch kill Sony?

I've owned the 505, 600, 900, 350, 650 and 950. Did I mention I love the Sony Readers? Borrowing library ebooks has always been a major draw for me. The lack thereof knocked Amazon out of the box. Touch navigation will always beat out keyboard and a button to move a cursor.

Amazon, on the other hand, could probably give readers away for free with all the money they make on ebook sales. B&N and Borders are trying hard to sell ebooks. Sony seems to me to be a laggard in sales of ebooks. Their devices are spectacular, but don't compete well on price. I don't know how much they make on ebook sales.

With the new Kobo and Nook, if I needed a new 6" reader with a touch screen, I'd opt for the Kobo rather than a Sony 50% more expensive.

Sorry Sony. You were the leader of the pack. I will always love your devices. Your business model just didn't work against others who didn't need to make money on the reader.
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:36 AM   #2
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It will if Sony doesn't get a clue about it's utterly ridiculous MSRPs. (Though I don't think that the other readers are likely below-cost loss-leaders.)
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:01 AM   #3
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As a current owner of the 950 (formerly had the 505), I can say that although these units are/were expensive, their build quality was top notch. I'm not sure if the new Nook and Kobo units are made as well....
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:07 AM   #4
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Meh, there are people like me that would be willing to pay the price difference for the Sony. I still like the 950 more than the new Nook and Kobo.
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:18 AM   #5
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Couple thoughts on the announced readers
- I'm glad to see that BN is announcing a competitive product. I want BN to exist, not go bankrupt like Borders. Physical bookstores serve the purpose in the society as social gathering places. When Borders and BN closed their flagship megastores in downtown SF and NYC, the cities lost two social, cultural centers.
- I think Kobo is in trouble. Technologically, the US market pretty much can only take two main categories of product (Mac and PC, Ipad and Android), and the new Nook pretty much made the new Kobo eReader redundant. Nook has better technology for only $10 more. If you look at the video of Kobo in Engadget.com, Kobo eReaders seem so laggy. It took about 6 seconds to open a book. Plus, Borders is bankrupt.

Quote:
Sorry Sony. You were the leader of the pack. I will always love your devices. Your business model just didn't work against others who didn't need to make money on the reader.
What is Sony's business model? To sell advance technology at a premium? It seems that the new Nook and Kobo eReader have touchscreen technology that Sony Readers had last year, but still are not up to par with the many of the technologies of the Sony Readers (no landscape reading mode, no PDF reflow). They are basically this years's Sony Readers. (Some like Nook's no flash e-ink beats Sony Readers.) Who knows what new technology the newest Readers will have that'll leap pass the new Nook and Kobo.

Will Sony Readers survive? Who knows. Doesn't look good in the US. They're being cleared from Best Buy, so what exposures will they have in the US? (I remember when Best Buy was clearing a Sony product, the Sony Clie. It was right before Sony exited the PDA market. But then the whole PDA market was taken over by RIM.) Looks like if you want to buy in the US, it's only through Sonystyle stores or website.

Maybe Sony Reader can exist as a niche high-end product. Since Sony doesn't depend on ebook sales so as long as they make money on each Reader sold, Sony can be viable. Still Sony Readers are (now) overpriced. They can't command the premium of exclusive technology. I hope Sony realize they have to price their next Readers lower, and discount the current Readers.

Sony kinda reminds me of Leica, in terms of pricing and marketplace. Premium lens technology, premium price, while other DSLRS (Canon, Nikon) are eating its lunch. (Will Leica survive?) I would hope there's a market for technologically superior products. Maybe Sony will exist because there'll be people with need for an all-purpose reader that doesn't exist to be fed ebooks. I researched for a reader that handles pdfs and other formats really well and found out about the Sony Readers. No other mainstream readers handle other formats so well.

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Old 05-25-2011, 01:44 AM   #6
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I think Kobo is in trouble. Technologically, the US market pretty much can only take two main categories of product (Mac and PC, Ipad and Android), and the new Nook pretty much made the new Kobo eReader redundant. Nook has better technology for only $10 more. If you look at the video of Kobo in Engadget.com, Kobo eReaders seem so laggy. It took about 6 seconds to open a book. Plus, Borders is bankrupt.
Not true. Kobo is marked worldwide and sold in brick and mortar stores world wide. The Nook and the Kindle are not. Sony has a very small point of sale presence, especially here in Australia.

Kobo is also a separate entity to Borders and no doubt be sourcing other outlets to sell their product. I went into one of Perth's surviving borders stores a month ago and the Kobo stand was very visible and surrounded by interested customers. For Australians, the physical presence of the Kobo ereader has been very good for the brand. Forget Kindle and Nook, as they need to be purchased sight unseen, online. A lot of first time ereader owners are not so keen to pay AU$180+ for a device they have not physically seen.

Sony simply are too hard to purchase. The PRS-350 is physically available most times at the Sony shop and Myer/David Jones and online at the Sony online store. The PRS-650 is rarer than rocking horse poo and the PRS-950 is not available here at all. Also, the high prices of the otherwise excellent Sony devices turn people away as well.

I have used a Kobo now for just under 12 months. They are slower to boot and the page turns are a tad slower as well. However they are fine ereaders, with each new version improving significantly on the previous version. The new touch version in particular looks excellent, especially PDF handling which has long been an issue with many users of all ereaders.

Good on Kobo for keeping the others competitive.

Last edited by sabredog; 05-25-2011 at 04:04 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:11 AM   #7
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Yes, Kobo has said that they are #1 in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. I'm talking about how Kobo may be in trouble in the US, because of BN and Amazon. Yes, besides Borders, Kobo are in other outlet such as Walmart and Best Buy. But if you compare the new Kobo and Nook next to each other, it seems that Nook is just so much faster and has better technology. Kobos and Nooks are displayed next to each other in Best Buy stores.

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Old 05-25-2011, 03:49 AM   #8
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Kobos and Nooks are displayed next to each other in Best Buy stores.
Internationally the picture changes, not just limited to the US. That may well change if the Nook was sold internationally and really give the Kobo a run for the money, but it is not.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:19 AM   #9
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I think Kobo is in trouble. . . Nook has better technology for only $10 more. If you look at the video of Kobo in Engadget.com, Kobo eReaders seem so laggy. It took about 6 seconds to open a book.
Actually, I think the Kobo is technologically better than the new Nook and offers more. Both, FWIW, use the new Pearl screen and the Neonode IR touchscreen technology -- just like Sony. Nook may have a faster processor, but unlike Kobo, it has no web access. I believe the Kobo and the Sony are comparable speedwise and I don't find my Sony 950 too slow.

Besides, if you look at the videos of the Nook touch page refreshes, you get 5 swift pages then suddenly a slower refresh as the caching catches up. I'd find that more annoying than having every page refresh at a similar rate.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:05 AM   #10
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Not true. Kobo is marked worldwide and sold in brick and mortar stores world wide.
Sorry, but the world is bigger than New Zealand, Australia and Canada. It is not available in Europe. Don't know about Asia and Africa, but I guess there neither. Neither in stores nor online. So worldwide is just not true.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:08 AM   #11
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Latin America isn't a wee little place either. Are Amazon, Kobo and B&N represented there?
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:24 AM   #12
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Latin America isn't a wee little place either. Are Amazon, Kobo and B&N represented there?
OOOPS

*whispers* I forgot them.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:00 AM   #13
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Actually, I think the Kobo is technologically better than the new Nook and offers more. Both, FWIW, use the new Pearl screen and the Neonode IR touchscreen technology -- just like Sony. Nook may have a faster processor, but unlike Kobo, it has no web access. I believe the Kobo and the Sony are comparable speedwise and I don't find my Sony 950 too slow.

Besides, if you look at the videos of the Nook touch page refreshes, you get 5 swift pages then suddenly a slower refresh as the caching catches up. I'd find that more annoying than having every page refresh at a similar rate.
To be fair, I'll have to wait to see how Kobo performs in real life when I visit a Borders before Father's Day. The slowness I'm referring to is the speed of things loading, not the page flipping. In the Engadget video, the book took a long time to load. What I read elsewhere on the web isn't all that encouraging either:

http://www.the-digital-reader.com/20...t-impressions/

"It’s a little slow. I tap to open a book and there’s a noticeable wait. I tap to select something in the TOC and there’s await (at first I thought it was frozen). I’ve confirmed that this is probably the firmware that will ship, so that concerns me."

Incidentally, I wasn't the first to think that Kobo may be in trouble.
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/gadgetrevi...a-chance/24994

The title of the article is, "With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?"

I want Kobo to do well because books from Kobo Bookstore can be loaded onto Sony Readers. I recently bought a book from Kobo Bookstore because it was cheaper than Sony's bookstore. Plus, combination of Sony ebookstore and Kobo ebookstore covers pretty much the selections of BN ebookstore. But after seeing Kobo's performance on the video, I felt it was sorely lacking. I seriously thought the Nook completely stole the thunder from Kobo.

Last edited by sonyreaderfan; 05-27-2011 at 06:37 AM. Reason: added title obscured by URL
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:22 AM   #14
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Sony does have to come down in price. If it does I think it will have buyers, even in USA. Kindle, Kobo and Nook all look pretty much the same (or at least they will when Kindle announce their touch screen, no keyboard version later this year, as I'm sure they will...). Black pieces of plastic. Only Kobo being a little different with a white option. Sony is so much better looking, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who cares about looks.

Of course looks isn't everything, but Sony has some things the others don't that even US buyers might appreciate (European ones certainly will!):
All book are treated equal, no matter what book store they come from.
Sony's collections beat Nook's shelves hand down. I' don't know if Kobo has anything similar at all. (I know Kindle does, but I'm not familiar with it).

(Then of course there are things Sony need to improve as well. One thing that pops up in my minds right away is font selection. The Nook has 6 fonts. Sure wish the Sony had that as well! Or at least more than now!)

(This is the Sony forum, so I guess this is OT, but where does it say that Nook has no web access and Kobo does? [as "rhadin" states] Old Nook did have web access, Kobo didn't. Is this changed with the new ones? Can't find info!)

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Old 05-25-2011, 08:25 AM   #15
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I do think that the current Sony line-up is dead. Well especially the 650. I guess there will be people who want a 5" or a 7" screen and there are no (?) other choices out there for those sizes. But the 650 just has nothing now to justify its price. The specs on the new Kobo and the new Nook are pretty much the same + wifi. I have no reason to buy a new reader because I love mine, but if I were in the market today, I couldn't justify the price difference of the Sony (and without "handling" the other models, I don't even know if the Sony would be my favorite or not).

BUT let's remember that the current Sony line-up is now how many months old? 8 or so? And they pioneered the IR tech that Kobo and Nook have now adopted. Sony has proven itself to be a leader in innovation in the ereader field (and yes, innovation comes at a price) so I, for one, am excited to see what the NEXT Sony line-up will look like. Hopefully this fall!

Now let's talk about the 6" Pearl screen for a second. When Sony had so many shortages of the 650 model, it was often chalked up to not enough supply of the screen. Well, we'll see if Kobo or Nook ever have shortages!! Now we have FOUR major readers (actually more if you count all the different Kindle models separately) using the same screen.

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