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Amazon’s Kindle Touch vs. Sony’s Reader WI-Fi, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 993

Essay

The e-reader market has exploded in recent years. There are a number of different manufacturers who are making a number of different types of e-readers. The earliest models were rather simple, but with the development of the iPad, and the incredible numbers of units that Apple sold, the e-reader market began to expand into producing devices that straddled the e-reader and tablet market. The Kindle Fire, for example, has a color screen like the iPad, but is still marketed by Amazon as both an e-reader and a media consumption device for watching movies and listening to music along with reading books and magazines. Despite the advances in the market, e-readers that are intended solely for reading are still popular. Two devices that are targeting this market are the Sony wi-fi e-reader and the Kindle wi-fi e-reader. A comparison of the two devices demonstrates that these devices each have some strengths and weaknesses, and consumers may find that one or another of these devices best suits their individual needs.

The Sony Reader is a strong competitor in the e-reader field. Sony is sometimes criticized for producing electronic devices that are too expensive, but the Sony Reader  is priced quite reasonably; the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $129.99, but prices online are sometimes a bit higher, especially if purchased through Amazon, the maker of the Kindle. The Sony Reader has a number of design attributes that make it a strong competitor to devices such as the Kindle e-reader and Barnes&Noble’s Nook, which are both leading devices in the marketplace.

The standard technology used in most e-readers is something called “e-ink.” Unlike the color screens found in tablet devices and some other e-readers, e-ink is a technology that renders the screen images in a manner that appears much like ink on paper, giving the appearance of reading a standard printed book. Sony was actually the first manufacturer to bring an e-ink reader to the market, back in 2006. This reader was available long before the Kindle or the Nook, but this original reader had a number of limitations. The primary limitation in this early reader as a lack of wi-fi, meaning the device had to be attached to a computer to download books.

The Sony Reader wi-fi, as the name implies, can download books without the need for access to a computer. The Sony Reader has a touch screen, allowing users to turn pages with the same sliding motion used on most tablet devices. An included stylus allows users to highlight text and even take notes on the device. The Reader has a microSD slot, making it possible to expand the unit’s memory beyond its built-in 2GB. The Reader also supports some audio, allowing users to listen to music, though the Reader does not support audio books.

The most attractive aspect of the Sony Reader is its screen capacities. There is an included virtual keyboard which can be used for taking notes and for navigation, but the included stylus allows readers to take notes directly on text. By pressing a finger to a particular word, the Sony Reader will bring up built-in dictionary definitions for that word, or gain access to Google or Wikipedia. The browser capacity is limited, but functional. The Reader supports a wide range of file formats, including Microsoft Word, PDF, EPUB, and several other formats, and plays back mp3 and AAC audio files.

The screen also offers pinch-to-zoom, though this feature is much more sluggish than it is on more feature-packed devices like the iPad. The e-ink technology allows the Reader to be viewed even in bright sunlight. On the downside, the Reader does not offer users the ability to lend books to users on the same device platform, as users of the Kindle and the Nook can do, nor does it offer integration of Twitter and Facebook, features that can also be found in the latest versions of Kindle and Nook. At $129, the Reader is a solid competitor in the e-reader field.

The 2011 Kindle e-reader is also a solid entry in the e-reader market. Amazon produced an entry-level Kindle with no wi-fi, and more expensive versions with wi-fi and 3G options. It also offered the Kindle Touch, which is the device most comparable to the Sony Reader. The Kindle is offered in ad-free versions that are priced slightly higher, or ad-supported versions that era $30-40 cheaper. Pricing is aggressive for the Kindle Touch; the ad-supported version is priced at $99 for wi-fi only, or $149 for an ad-supported model with 3G.

Many of the features found on the Sony reader are more or less the same on the Kindle Touch. The Kindle uses the same e-ink technology to display pages, and pages are turned by swiping the screen. This technology, like that in the Sony Reader, uses infrared sensors to detect the movement of your finger. The Kindle does have some features that the Reader does not have; one of these is, notably, audio book support. While most purchasers of an e-reader may not need such a feature, it is a good option to have.

The bottom line is that the main features of the Reader are also found in the Kindle Touch, and vice versa. The Reader has the advantage of supporting PDF and EPUB formats, which may appeal to some consumers. Conversely, the Kindle has access to the vast library of available books, magazines, and other media available through the Amazon site. These features, along with the pricing variables and the option of getting a 3G model of the Kindle, make it difficult to say that either the Kindle or the Reader is the best model. If anything, what this comparison shows is just how far the e-reader industry has advanced in just a few years, and how tight the race is between various manufacturers. There may be no clear advantage between the Reader and the Kindle, but there is a clear advantage to consumers who can choose from among so many feature-packed devices.

References

http://reviews.cnet.com/e-book-readers/amazon-kindle-touch-with/4505-3508_7-35022792.html

http://reviews.cnet.com/e-book-readers/amazon-kindle-2011-with/4505-3508_7-35022794.html

http://reviews.cnet.com/e-book-readers/sony-reader-wi-fi/4505-3508_7-35020357-2.html

http://www.lostinreaders.com/1701/guides/comparisons/sony-prs-t1-and-kindle-touch-lets-compare/

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