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Old 07-28-2006, 09:15 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Sony Reader -- Ask your questions to the Sony team

There's quite a buzz about the new generation of E Ink devices coming to market. This is especially true for the Sony Reader PRS-500 which made its full debut at the CES show in Las Vegas earlier this year and was originally scheduled to be rolled-out in Borders and SonyStyle stores for spring. Being the geeks that we are, we continue to gather here at MobileRead looking for the latest information and rumors as the excitement grows.

Now is your chance to cut right past the rumors and speculation and get some straight answers from the Sony Reader team. They were particularly kind to contact us with an offer to answer questions from the MobileRead community.

This is your big chance to hear what you want to know, right from the source. To participate, please post your burning questions about the Sony Reader in this thread and we will route the best of them to the Sony folks next week.

PS: If you are looking for some base information about the reader, be sure to check out our Sony Reader forum.
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Old 07-28-2006, 09:39 AM   #2
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Q: When will the Sony Reader become available in other countries? Europe? Asia?
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Old 07-28-2006, 09:41 AM   #3
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I guess I'll start with the obvious question: has this thing gone through a beta test stage? A few minutes reading through the Iliad forum topics on this very web site demonstrates the importance of polishing the software.

Has Sony tested firmware updates, and how are they delivered to the end user?

Has Sony experienced any issues with 'ghosting'?

Has Sony stress-tested battery life under a variety of conditions?

Is the Sony Reader's battery user replacable?

Exactly which file formats are supported natively (ie, copy file to memory stick, insert memory stick, file works?) and which file formats require conversion?

If the Reader supports PDF natively, can it handle PDF files with lots of graphics? Can it zoom or rotate the page?

Will the Sony Reader or the Connect Store support subscription content (such as magazines and newspapers?)

What will the warranty cover? Can customers buy extra warranty coverage for things like cracked screens (as you can with laptops)?

If the Sony Reader breaks, what will it take to move DRMd content to a replacement machine? Or, what if Sony introduces a new improved Reader a few years later - same question!

What is Sony's exit strategy? If Sony decides to leave the eBook market or abandon the Reader, what options will customers have to retain access to the content they've paid for?

Will Sony provide software and support for customers using Mac OS X?
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Old 07-28-2006, 09:50 AM   #4
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What about non-DRM content

For those of us who purchase exclusively content with NO DRM(!)... How will the Sony Reader support files with no DRM? For example, I purchase lots of e-books from Baen Books -- lots of formats, good prices, NEVER any DRM! How will I be able to use such content on the Sony Reader?

Secondly, will I be able to put non-DRM content on a flash memory card of some sort, and then use it on the Sony Reader?

I'd also like to second the question about Mac OS X support. Note that answers like "Windows only" or "just use BootCamp to run Windows on your Mac Hardware" would guarantee that I will never purchase your product, or any content for it.

Lastly, will Sony's online store support non-DRM content if that's what the publisher wants? There are certainly some publishers who take that position (Baen, O'Reilly, and the National Academies Press, among others). Will I be able to purchase such content through Sony?
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:09 AM   #5
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Man! you guys asked already the most questions that I wanted to ask. :P

What I want to know is when the Reader will be released for sure.
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Old 07-28-2006, 11:38 AM   #6
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Some general reading-related questions:

1) Can I listen to songs while reading?
2) Can I bookmark a location in a book and return to it later?
3) Can I "jump" forward/backward while reading by something other than 1 page (chapter, 10 page jumps, etc)?
4) What is the display's expected lifetime?
5) Can I create "folders" and generally configure/manage the organization of content? (ie: through the included PC software).
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:10 PM   #7
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I second the question on native formats, and on release date (both for US and other areas -especially Europe).

I find it very positive for Sony to be willing to face the fans. It is something I really did not expect from such a large company.
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordvetinari2
It is something I really did not expect from such a large company.
Agreed. I think they are doing an excellent PR job here.
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:18 PM   #9
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Do publishers really want Sony format--especially with Apple looming?

Many thanks for answering people's questions. I'm curious if Sony's fully considering the publishers' side. Someone with a huge publishing conglomerate tells me that there are already too many formats to support for the amount of resources this giant company has available. Now, think about the smaller publishers. And of course the rumored Apple machine might just add to the Tower of eBabel. What's more, an Adobe executive has said that BBeB will not be eternal. Meanwhile, as you can tell from other questions, format/DRM issues are very important to readers. Even now it would appear that the Sony Reader can't even handle DRMed PDF, the kind that big publishers prefer, especially for best-sellers.

Bottom line: Could it be that Sony would be better off going for a common format rather than paying--yes, paying--for books to be converted to the BBeB format? Can you really keep paying forever? And mightn't a common format might be one way to distinguish yourself from Apple, which probably will go for a proprietary approach? What do you think? Many thanks, and good luck with the Reader.

- David Rothman (wearing his OpenReader hat).
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:51 PM   #10
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In other devices you can use a dictionary selecting text with the stylus on the screen... is there any similar functionality in the Sony Reader?

Cheers,

L.
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Old 07-28-2006, 03:39 PM   #11
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What is the maximum sized flash card that the Reader can handle?

Are access and screen refresh rates slower on media that is saved on a flash card then on the device?

Can the Reader read archived .Jpeg’s such as in .Zip or .Rar files?

Is there any planned support for Microsoft’s .Lit format?

How does audio file navigation work when you’re reading a book? (can you change a track without having to exit the book you’re reading to go to another menu?)

Do PDF’s need to be formatted in some way to make sure the text flows properly on the Readers screen?
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:02 AM   #12
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Here is one that I think a few of us would like to know:

Is Sony already working on a successor of the Sony Reader? E Ink technology is already a step ahead with 1024x768 display kits as used for the iRex iLiad. I would want to see the Reader with this bigger resolution (and diagonal).

Also, does Sony have any guidelines from E Ink when we can expect the first E Ink devices with color displays?
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Old 07-29-2006, 08:35 AM   #13
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With and to all of the above I would add:

Can we have numerous books open at the same time ie. dictionnaries of different languages with the current book read.

Can we transfer notes as in post-its and attach them to the page read.

If the document read is PDF is Acrobat installed on board.

Does one have to reformat existing books that one previously owns.

Is it still possible to change the refresh "flashto black" before redisplay to a "flash to white ".

Is the ghosting effect that is corrected by refreshing due to the little colored cells not being quite correctly at the right optimal vertical position. If this is so could it be corrected by a longer grid charge.

Can a magnet applied to the e-ink sceen modify the display.

Would it be possible to arrange for the connection of a small foldable keyboard like the ones on PDAs.


I'd like to thank Alexander for giving us the opportunity to have a say at Sony's ear, and Sony Itself for listening.
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Old 07-29-2006, 01:07 PM   #14
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keeping rss content on the reader?

If I download an RSS feed, can I keep the content on the reader? Or will it be automatically deleted after a certain period of time?

Does it have a maximum size or number of posts for each individual RSS feed?

Obviously, I'd like the power to decide how long a particular feed stays on my machine, and how big it is allowed to get.
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Old 07-29-2006, 01:10 PM   #15
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conversion tools?

Will you sell server-side conversion tools?

If yes, how much will they cost?

How much will the ebook creation tool cost? Or is it free?
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