Sony Reader PRS-650 and PRS-350 slim down, touchscreen up

Sony is rumoured to be planning two new touchscreen ebook readers with thinner chassis and lower prices, to take on Amazon's recent overhaul of the Kindle

Sony is rumoured to be planning two new ebook readers, one of which will have Wi-Fi, to take on Amazon's recent overhaul of the Kindle .

The Sony Insider blog quotes "trusted sources" as saying two new touchscreen devices will appear in the company's Reader range with lower price tags than before. Though Sony has not responded to the rumours, its pattern of releasing new Reader devices in September lends these whispers an air of plausibility.

The catchily named PRS-350 and PRS-650 will apparently measure an excruciatingly slight 10mm in width and will have, respectively, 5- and 6-inch eInk touchscreens. Both will, reportedly, have improved page turn speeds and greater contrast than the previous princely heap of Sony Reader devices. There is also the possibility that at least one of the new models will have its internal storage boosted up to 2GB instead of the paltry 512MB on older Readers.

Juicily, though the reclusive PRS-350 will have no Web connectivity whatsoever, the PRS-650 will come with Wi-Fi. Sources have not ruled out the possibility of it carrying a free 3G connection as well, as the Kindle does.

The new Readers will both continue to support the ePub format, will have a redesigned home screen, battery life of around two weeks and a choice of black or silver colours. It is also expected that the new Readers will be much cheaper to compete with the new Kindle's greatly reduced price-tag.

Given the new Kindle was announced less than a month ago, Sony hasn't spent that time sat on its hands -- assuming the rumours are true. If so, it appears to just be playing catch-up, but if these new Readers can somehow set themselves apart and drive the price down enough, Amazon may yet have to offer its kingdom for a horse.

 

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