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Old 04-04-2007, 06:28 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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BusinessWeek gives Sony Reader a 3.5/5 in second round

After receiving a less than stellar review back in October last year, the Sony Reader scores surpisingly well in a more recent hands-on by BusinessWeek's editor Cliff Edwards. His final verdict (emphasis mine):

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The Sony Reader is a very good first foray into the electronic book market. While there's no substitute for the feel you get with a real book, with a few adjustments to the software, and as more books become available digitally, it could quickly turn into the device everyone wants to have.
  • The Good: Can store up to 80 books, some blogs, and display black-and-white photos; long battery life
  • The Bad: Ink hard to read in poor lighting; online site hard to navigate; Windows PC needed to buy books
  • The Bottom Line: An environmental plus and a good way to lighten the load for frequent travelers
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Old 04-04-2007, 08:36 AM   #2
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One of the better non-geek evaluations of the device, I think... big on practicality, low of gee-whiz.

The comments about the Connect software reminded me of a Sony MP3 player I bought two years ago. It was a gorgeous bauble, easily the coolest MP3 player I've seen before or since, but the PC software and music transfer system was so much of a pain that I took the player back to the store the very next day, and bought an iAudio device instead. And I didn't realize there was no Mac version of the software... that's worse than onerous, it bites!

Maybe Sony needs to think about partnering with a company that knows how to make user-friendly software.

Apple, for instance...
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan
And I didn't realize there was no Mac version of the software... that's worse than onerous, it bites!
Do you really think that not having a Mac version of a program matters to most companies? Macs represent such a small market share that they are a negligible market sector. As a software author myself (writing Windows software), I occasionally get asked for a Linux version of my software; I can count on the fingers of one hand (after 15 years in business) the number of times I've been asked for a Mac version!

Haven't Apple effectively admitted defeat on this front by switching to Intel processors and allowing modern Macs to boot Windows?
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan
One of the better non-geek evaluations of the device, I think... big on practicality, low of gee-whiz.
Yes, most of these reviewers did not reviewed a reading device, they expected some sort of PDA with e-ink. Sony lacks a good software for most of their devices, but do you really believe Apple would team with anyone ? I doubt this. Apple is a pretty huge fan of Apple-only ecosystems (PPC+Mac OS, iPod+iTunes etc...). They're amazing for ergonomics and design, but the way they keep everyone out of their ecosystem is really old-school. Using x86 for the new Macs was a great step forward for such a company. Sony did the wrong choice with the Librie, not opening their device to multiple formats, and the PRS-500 is a pretty good step forward for them too.
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Old 04-04-2007, 11:44 AM   #5
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I am not sure the Ereader will hit it big with corporate "America" or "Europe" for that matter, until it can manage to process Letter / A4 pdf's, which is the standard pretty much for internal documents, memos, reports etc etc. Corporate world would expect, IMHO, decent viewing and easy navigation within large documents.

I would think also some encryption stuff would be needed to keep company docs private if the Ereader is stolen.

The software would need to be better and integrate decent files structuring both internally and more so on memory cards.

Until these are sorted I can't see big business buying into the Ereader.

:-( AndiR
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Old 04-04-2007, 12:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndiR
I am not sure the Ereader will hit it big with corporate "America" or "Europe" for that matter, until it can manage to process Letter / A4 pdf's, which is the standard pretty much for internal documents, memos, reports etc etc. Corporate world would expect, IMHO, decent viewing and easy navigation within large documents.

I would think also some encryption stuff would be needed to keep company docs private if the Ereader is stolen.

The software would need to be better and integrate decent files structuring both internally and more so on memory cards.

Until these are sorted I can't see big business buying into the Ereader.

:-( AndiR
I agree that for a more large scale market, an A4 reader should do the trick. But you can't carry around such a reader as easily. Right now readers are mostly made for customers looking for a way to read novels on e-ink. That's what the Sony PRS-500 was made for, and it does a pretty good job.
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Old 04-04-2007, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hadrien
Right now readers are mostly made for customers looking for a way to read novels on e-ink. That's what the Sony PRS-500 was made for, and it does a pretty good job.

Agreed totally. It's not made as a "business tool", but as a home product for people to read fiction on. For that, it's an amazingly good tool.

Perhaps there is a market for an A4 device for business and academic use - it would probably need to have a touch-sensitive screen to allow documents to be annotated. But that's a whole new product. I wouldn't want one for reading on (too big!) and that's not what the Reader's for.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:09 PM   #8
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Perhaps there is a market for an A4 device for business and academic use
For magazines too. The main problem is that we're used to different sizes of paper for different purposes. That's a pretty huge drawback for those expecting a great multi purpose device: if you want better document support (A4 PDF for example) and better formatting, you don't get the same mobility.

Simple newspaper could be formatted in a much more flexible way than they are right now, and be available on all kind of e-ink devices. But don't expect more "formatting heavy" magazines anytime soon on anything else than A4 (color too ?).

The "e-babel" is not only tricky because there's too many formats around, it's also linked to the physical size of these readers.
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:20 PM   #9
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In one company I work with they saw my Reader and went out and got one for themselves. They are currently building their service manual to fit on the Reader so that the techs do not have to carry laptops. They also believe that there will be additional security for the manual as the internal files may not be copied easily.
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Old 04-04-2007, 04:56 PM   #10
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They're not concerned about moving through the dox easily, RWood? Or did you talk them through building comprehensive TOC's in BookDesigner?
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Old 04-04-2007, 05:21 PM   #11
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They're not concerned about moving through the dox easily, RWood? Or did you talk them through building comprehensive TOC's in BookDesigner?
Or with LaTeX which creates TOC quite easily...
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Old 04-04-2007, 05:22 PM   #12
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Yes, or with LaTex.
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Old 04-05-2007, 06:23 AM   #13
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TOCs are very easy to do in BD .
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:20 AM   #14
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I found another "mainstream" review published this week with an overall positive opinion on the Reader:

Quote:
The Reader, which I have been test-driving for a couple of weeks, makes clear that books are becoming less necessary to a life of reading pleasure. It also makes clear that the gadget-makers have a ways to go in fine-tuning their product. And they know it.
http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Pu...3/447kweap.asp
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Old 04-05-2007, 09:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TadW
I found another "mainstream" review published this week with an overall positive opinion on the Reader:



http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Pu...3/447kweap.asp
Interesting review. I guess we'll see more and more of this kind of reviews, obviously you need time to realize the full potential of the PRS-500, but also its flaws. Most of the early reviews were based on a short experience with the device, not some long term use.
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