updated 07:00 pm EDT, Tue August 4, 2009
Sony PRS-300 and PRS-600
Sony has almost immediately followed up on late rumors with an official update to its Reader line of e-book devices. The new PRS-300 Pocket Edition and PRS-600 Touch Edition readers are less expensive than the PRS-505 was when new but have a similar 600x800 e-paper display and in some cases make significant improvements: while both have just 512MB of memory built-in, either will take not only Memory Sticks for extra storage but also SD cards. They also get a new, native Mac client for loading books over USB in addition to the existing Windows version.
The PRS-300 is the traditional model and meant to be the most portable with a 5-inch display, direction pad based controls and support for both Sony's own bookstore downloads as well as more generic formats like PDF and Word. With the PRS-600, users get a larger, 6-inch touchscreen display that is described as more readable than that for the PRS-700. It no longer includes the side lighting as part of its price drops.
Both Readers ship later this month at prices of $199 for the PRS-300 and $299 for the PRS-600. This will accompany a price drop on bestselling books from $12 to $10 that matches similar pricing from Amazon's Kindle Store and the Barnes & Noble e-book store. Mac users who already own the PRS-505 and PRS-700 should receive both Mac software and Reader firmware to recognize it by the time the new devices are in stores.