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Old 01-05-2006, 03:33 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Sony Reader vs. iRex Iliad e-book reader

Thanks to Brian we know Sony's successor of the Sony Librie e-book reader is simply called the Sony Reader. I am not impressed. Well I would have been if iRex hadn't announced it's Iliad Reader a couple of days earlier. Comparison:

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

Weight:
Sony: 8.8 ounces
iRex: 13.7 ounces

Screen:
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

Price:
Sony: USD $299-$399
iRex: ?

Summary:
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).

Related: Sony's new e-book reader officially announced, More details on the Iliad ER 0100 e-book reader
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:50 AM   #2
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To be fair, at least Sony has given a price indication($299-$399). It's still unknown how much the iRex will cost (I'm guessing 600 euro at least) and whether it will be available outside Europe.

The Sony is targeted at consumers, while the iRex is aimed at the professional market.
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:57 AM   #3
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True, I should have pointed that out as well. First post updated
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:04 AM   #4
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The Sony Reader has a faster display than the Librie.

The iRex Iliad has a touch screen (that's one of its best features)!

The sony will have approx 64mb builtin memory available for e-books btw.
The sony case is made from aluminium.

The Iliad can also read from USB sticks.

Last edited by Lorphos; 01-05-2006 at 05:06 AM.
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorphos
The Sony Reader has a faster display than the Librie.
That's be useful. I've heard a few Librie owners complaining about the small refresh rate.

Quote:
The iRex Iliad has a touch screen (that's one of its best features)!
Agreed! So the Sony Reader won't?

Quote:
The sony will have approx 64mb builtin memory available for e-books btw.
Since they support SD Card now, the limited built-in memory doesn't hurt much. Unless read access to SD Card is slow...

Quote:
The sony case is made from aluminium.
Any idea what the Iliad is made of?

Quote:
The Iliad can also read from USB sticks.
Another great feature!
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander
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
Two indications that Sony still doesn't get it.

1. The Memory Stick is dead. Gone. Failed. Note: past tense. Why they still keep adding support for it shows that they aren't looking at the market.

2. Proprietary formats. I can see them supporting their old format (to give their current users an upgrade path) - of course, if they used an open format in the first place, they wouldn't have that issue. But there's no reason they can't support HTML or text as well.

Regardless of the price, this doesn't seem like a good value. I get better value from my Palm as an eBook reader.
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:57 AM   #7
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Touch Screen

Quote:
Originally Posted by TadW
Agreed! So the Sony Reader won't?
Seeing how the eBook formats that Sony supports does not allow for editing and there's no mention of any other feature that would require input, there doesn't seem to be a need for a touch screen on the Sony.
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Old 01-05-2006, 06:41 AM   #8
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I think the wireless features of the iRex are the what will make it a Sony Reader killer.
Imagine having news stories that are constantly updated wirelessly using RSS feeds as well as getting your content delivered with the push of a button with no wires or computer needed, unlike the Reader which can only get its content via a USB connection to a computer or through its memory card expansion slots.
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:19 AM   #9
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David from Teleread agrees with me, especially regarding the limited screen size (800x600) of the Sony Reader/Librie:

Trouble is, enlarging the text isn’t enough. It needs to flow, so that people don’t have to scroll horizontally. Even if the Sony offers flowability, the next question is whether the format will work on a wide range of devices from rival hardware vendors.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:18 AM   #10
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I mentioned it elsewhere already, but price plays an important role for me to decide which e-book reader to buy in near future. Since the price of the iRex is still unknown, I hesitate to comment which reader is the "better" of the two.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:54 AM   #11
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Teleread also mentions that Sony is planning to make the specs of their BBeB format public. Not sure if that is actually happening, but I might consider their Reader in that case. (I expect the iRex to be much more expensive, probably more than I'm willing to spend.) I don't care much for e-books. Reading news is much more important to me.
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Old 01-05-2006, 11:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
2. Proprietary formats. I can see them supporting their old format (to give their current users an upgrade path) - of course, if they used an open format in the first place, they wouldn't have that issue. But there's no reason they can't support HTML or text as well.
Display of HTML (with css support) should be mandatory component of any dedicated reader.

As far as price goes, I would pay twice what the Sony is going for if it eschewed lock-in.
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:05 PM   #13
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I wonder if the iRex will be able to read any of the digital newspaper formats? The New York Times is available from newsstand.com as a proprietary PDF-based format, but it needs Windows based software, and then they also have it available as a Flash 7 based format too. I suspect none of this will work with the iRex out of the box.

I will definitely be getting one for my wife for read to read and mark up PDF documents, but it would be very cool to be able to read the newspaper on it and not have to waste all the paper every day...

Anyone know any more details of how the irex can mark up PDF files? That will be interesting to see.

Can't wait!
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:15 PM   #14
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I will definitely be getting one for my wife for read to read and mark up PDF documents, but it would be very cool to be able to read the newspaper on it and not have to waste all the paper every day...
I definitely agree with you there, and I really think that newspaper subscriptions along with subscription e-book services will help subsidize the hardware costs, and this will be a key element in encouraging e-book/e-magazine/e-newspaper adoption. While Sony will probably stick with an "à la carte" business model at the Connect store for e-books, I think iRex is probably going to go with the subscriptions-to-subsidize-hardware model with content partners. I also wouldn't be surprised if the New York Times becomes a major proponent and partner in such a strategy.
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Old 01-10-2006, 02:53 PM   #15
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Backlit screen possible to read in the dark.

I know there is not a mention of back lit. But a way to read the screen in low light or no light conditions sure is useful. Any ideas of if either the sony or irex has these abilities? I know the battery life will go down faster with a light on, but sometimes the presence of being able to read in the dark is very useful. Not always will you have light and since the device already has power, this makes is easier to not have to carry a light.

I had a hiebook. I use a palm. But neither are ideal. The Irex and sony are geting closer, but not if they don't have a light when I need it. Having to have a light is not always convenient.
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