Take that, Kindle! Firing its latest salvo in the e-reader war, Sony on Tuesday took the wraps off its new $399 3G device, the Reader Daily edition, that will hit store shelves in December.
The souped-up version of the e-reader has an aluminum body with an integrated cover. The device has enough internal memory to hold more than 1,000 standard e-books and expansion slots for memory cards to hold additional titles. In addition, the 7-inch wide touch screen lets readers view content in portrait or landscape display. In portrait mode, the Reader Daily offers roughly 30 to 35 lines of text, similar to a page from a hardcover book.
AT&T's 3G mobile broadband network is providing wireless access. There are no monthly fees or transaction charges for basic wireless connectivity. Users also have an option to side-load personal documents or content from other compatible sites via USB.
As announced earlier this summer, Sony e-reader users also now will be able to download one million free public domain books from Google, new releases from publishers and The New York Times' best-selling titles for $9.99.
To support the new reader, Sony also launched eBook Library software 3.0, which lets users transfer and read any Adobe PDF (with reflow capability) on EPUB, Microsoft Word files, BBeB files or other text file formats on the reader. Additionally, the new software provides support for some Mac computers as well as PCs.
At its press conference Tuesday, Sony also unveiled updated versions of its earlier e-readers, the Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition, which were announced earlier this month and retail for $199 and $299 respectively.
All three e-readers incorporate Sony's new Library Finder application from e-book distributor OverDrive. The app connects users to local library Web sites where they can check out digitized versions of books with their library cards, download them to a PC and transfer to their reader. At the end of the library's lending period, e-books expire, meaning there are no late fees.
The Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition are available now and the 3G Reader Daily edition will be released sometime in December, just in time for the holidays. Retail outlets carrying the devices include Sony's Web site, Best Buy, BJs, Borders, Sam's Club, Staples, Target, Toys "R" Us and Wal-Mart.