Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Sony Tosses the Sony Reader On the Scrap Heap

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the end-of-line dept.

Books 172

Nate the greatest (2261802) writes Sony has decided to follow up closing its ebook stores in the U.S. and Europe by getting out of the consumer ebook reader market entirely. (Yes, Sony was still making ereaders.) The current model (the Sony Reader PRS-T3) will be sold until stock runs out, and Sony won't be releasing a new model. This is a sad end for what used to be a pioneering company. This gadget maker might not have made the first ebook reader but it was the first to use the paper-like E-ink screen. Having launched the Sony Librie in 2004, Sony literally invented the modern ebook reader and it then went on to release the only 7" models to grace the market as well as the first ereader to combine a touchscreen and frontlight (the Sony Reader PRS-700). Unfortunately Sony couldn't come up with software or an ebook retail site which matched their hardware genius, so even though Sony released amazing hardware it had been losing ground to Amazon, B&N, and other retailers ever since the Kindle launched in 2007.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

That kinda sucks (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#47603531)

they made really nice ones, at least as far as screen. I'm guessing they can't compete with the heavily subsidized Amazon Kindles though...

That kinda sucks (3, Interesting)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about 3 months ago | (#47603657)

No, though Sony could have pulled it out of the fire by partnering with a more respected content vendor, instead of trying to roll their own.

Re:That kinda sucks (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#47603793)

I think not, because of the bad precedent in the music industry. Sony bought CBS Music for $2BN (a huge acquisition back then!) in 1987 when they were riding high on the Walkman and Discman, thus owning the catalogue of Michael Jackson among many others. Sony was ideally positioned to dominate portable music, forever. Where is it now?

Likewise I look at my Clie TH55 [amazon.com] and see today's Mobile devices, 10 years ago. And where is Sony now?

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about 3 months ago | (#47603917)

That fell apart because Sony didn't anticipate what direction things would take, letting Apple overtake them along with just about everyone else.

Re:That kinda sucks (5, Insightful)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#47604291)

No. They did what they always do, and tried to push a proprietary format (Minidisc and ATRAC) instead of embracing an established standard. With their music catalog, they could have *owned* the MP3 player market like they did with the original Walkman. (add to that their movie catalog and they could have killed the iPod touch before it was even born.)

Re: That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604309)

That's it exactly

Re:That kinda sucks (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604453)

Exactly. I've had friends with Sony readers and I wasted many days over the years trying to get those things to work right. The quality of the hardware was always good. It was the same, tired, mistake that Sony always did. Their software SUCKED to the point where using it was almost pointless.

The client-side software on the PC barely (if ever) worked right. USB conflicts all over the place. Their DRM-laden eBooks was monstrous to work with. I have zero sympathy for Sony in this area. When they tried to compete with the iPod, their ATRAC-format, and software also seriously sucked back then too.

Sony had their chance. They deserve to simply die and be buried. Another once-great company put out of its misery.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604639)

Get Calibre from http://calibre-ebook.com/ , you will get the great Sony hardware with the backing of a great cross platform software product. I am currently using a Sony PS-505 from 2007 and it is working as good as current gen Kindle.

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

lrichardson (220639) | about 3 months ago | (#47605345)

I thought Sony had learned their lesson after losing completely and utterly to VHS. Most would agree Betamax was a superior product, technically speaking, but being the 'better' product is no guarantee of success - pricing and marketing are critical. They priced themselves out of existence.

Blu-ray was a much better roll-out. They enlisted major studios before the product hit the market. Licensed it to many other companies. And the pricing - while still not making most happy - is keeping them in the game. (And Toshiba's HD DVD died just like Betamax did before it)

I had a pair of the Sony eReaders. They were great - insane battery life, excellent controls. And no stupid touch-screen - like any sane person wants fingerprints on their reading surface? OTOH, the software, as you said, sucked big-time. And then, both readers died within a few months of each other. And my customer experience with Sony pretty much drove me to the competition. And while that is a technically inferior model, I don't suffer from the software pains that Sony caused.

My Sony library still exists - inaccessible - on my hard-drive, thanks to their !@#$ DRM insanity. Again, part of the friendly service from the Sony people - their advice began and ended with 'Buy a newer Sony eReader!'

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604563)

No love for the "Memory Stick"?

Re:That kinda sucks (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604621)

No. They did what they always do, and tried to push a proprietary format (Minidisc and ATRAC) instead of embracing an established standard.

MiniDisc wasn't the problem. It was a great replacement for cassettes (even if Sony and retailers initially made the mistake of pushing it as a competitor to the CD). Random access track playback, track names, high-fidelity recording on Walkman-sized devices, random access editing without a razor blade: MiniDisc OWNED tape in oh so many ways. The ATRAC format was a logical choice for MiniDisc since the format had to be writable (not just readable) by the sort of portable hardware available back when MiniDisc first came out.

One of the Sony's big problems was their embrace of copy protection and DRM and the philosophy behind it. And this appears to have started when they bought out the CBS/Columbia record and movie studio operations around the time of the DAT fight. Technology like the Triniton CRT and the Walkman were about adding value for customers, while DRM is always about subtracting it.

With MiniDisc, Sony did things like bringing out MiniDisc "recorders" that had no microphone or line in jacks, only the ability to "record" over a DRMed USB connection. I guess they thought these were competitors for MP3 players and iPods. It took a long time for high-capacity MiniDiscs to arrive and in the meantime, Sony tried to push low-bitrate recording modes that were not always the greatest for sound quality.

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 3 months ago | (#47604981)

Yeah, because Apple didn't use an uncommon, DRM-enabled format. Nope.

Oh, wait. I'm being told that's exactly what they did. They sold their music in a format unsupported by any other portable player. And the first ipods only worked with Macs which, at the time, had a tiny percentage of the personal computer market.

So I'm going to go out on a limb and say Sony's choice of format had nothing to do with their inability to corner the new portable audio market.

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 months ago | (#47605351)

The first iPods worked with everything that could mount an USB hard disk, because they nothing more than that!

Re:That kinda sucks (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 3 months ago | (#47605199)

Minidisc and ATRAC pre-date MP3 as a format (1992 v 1995), so of course they didn't use the MP3 standard. Sony released MP3 players in the 90s, and while the software did indeed suck, it wasn't because of DRM. It didn't allow you to copy from MP3 player to computer, but that's not really a thing people want to do.

Anyway, the idea that they could leverage their movie holdings counters the idea that using an established standard as a format would have helped them. If they have large holdings, the only way to leverage that would be to restrict these large holdings to a Sony-only format. Similarly, Sony owns the company that makes Uncharted, they makes games in a Sony-exclusive format. If they owned the company that made Uncharted, and then had them design games in some open gaming format that would work on any gaming system, that would not help Sony's hardware division.

Re:That kinda sucks (5, Interesting)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 3 months ago | (#47605209)

Not fair: e-books were the one thing they didn't fuck with. Everything was e-pub, whereas Amazon was pushing their own weird formats. Can easily get content from different sources onto a Sony reader.

Re: That kinda sucks (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 3 months ago | (#47605607)

Please; doing all that would have required a imagination and foresight (well, at least a little!).

Re:That kinda sucks (4, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 3 months ago | (#47605215)

That fell apart because Sony didn't anticipate what direction things would take, letting Apple overtake them along with just about everyone else.

I don't think that's quite right. Sony did anticipate the direction things were going take, they just tried to control it too tightly and had an overinflated idea of their own power to steer things. I think the Sony Network Walkman [wikipedia.org] predates the iPod. I had an NW-MS9 [google.com.au] and I think in many ways it (and the earlier versions) were ahead of their time. Tiny, digital, sleek, even the name "Network" hints and some anticipation of a future of medialess distribution.

However they utterly ballsed up the execution. Partly on the software side (the associated software was an absolute dog which seemed to go out of it's way to make things painful) but mostly because they were trying to own the future with their MagicGate DRM (which they even seemed to be trying to sell as something exciting for the consumer, though it was responsible for much of the pain in using the software) and codec restrictions.

Sony saw the future, they just wanted to own it and in trying to do so produced something that served them more than it served the buyer.

Re:That kinda sucks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604611)

What probably killed them was their ATRAC3 DRM and the fiddly OpenMG software. One device I had (which used MagicGate 64 MB memory sticks) had to have all songs transcoded to its own format from MP3 (or ripped directly), and didn't allow "copying" of files. You had to check out and check in tracks... and if you formatted your device, you lost that. You only had the ability to have each song checked out 2-3 times at most.

Backups? You -might- be able to restore your collection, but you would have to call a Sony tech support line for an unlock code.

Sony's SonicStage (on their Vaios) was a little bit better, but by that time, the iPod was out, had no meaningful DRM, and that was the end of that.

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#47604897)

Where is it now?

Eh, probably buying Procter & Gamble stock and trading in "secured" mortgages and other derivatives.. Rumor has it they still do okay in the professional and broadcast market. I wouldn't know, it's been a while...

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 3 months ago | (#47605089)

Sony gotten bitten with Apple Envy. They pretty much invented portable music with the Walkman, re-invented it with the Discman but completely failed to capitalize it with digital music the way the iPod & iTunes did.

Their downfall was trying to sucker the rest of the world with proprietary formats.

http://games.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org]

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47603869)

No, screw that. If we had a Justice Department that was worth a damn, Amazon would be broken up into a dozen different companies. No way they should be allowed to control the e-book market AND the ebook reader market. Plus the Amazon Prime content and the music/movie business.

Amazon is why anti-trust laws were passed in the first place.

Now I hate Sony like sin itself, and would never buy any of their products, but there's no way they should get chased out of the ebook reader market because of illegal competition.

Re: That kinda sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603933)

Amazon is nowhere near having a monopoly on anything, unless you suddenly forgot about Apple, Google, Netflix, Hulu, Newegg, TigerDirect, etc.

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47603985)

No, screw that. If we had a Justice Department that was worth a damn, Amazon would be broken up into a dozen different companies.

Why?

No way they should be allowed to control the e-book market AND the ebook reader market.

They don't.

Plus the Amazon Prime content and the music/movie business.

What? Have you not heard of iTunes? or Netflix? or Google Play? or Hulu? or Spotify? or Pandora? or XBox Music/Video?

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604051)

Amazon doesnt have a monopoly though, while they do make a phone, tablet and e-reader and bundle their services they do not have a monopoly with any of those devices or services. If any company should be broken up it is Google with its stranglehold on the smartphone market it has near 85% marketshare and its operating system is so dominant that the latest release of its nearest competitor (Apple with iOS8) is basically an exercise in copying Android features yet it continues to bundle its web browser, its email client, its application store, its music/video service, its mapping service, etc ... with its operating system, leveraging its monopoly to promote its other products/services. Amazon is not even close to that level of dominance in any of its markets (at least not yet).

Microsoft's attempts to do this with just the browser resulted in the browser ballot which succeeded in breaking up the IE monopoly and we saw a surge in usage of Firefox and Chrome (even Safari back when Apple was doing a Windows version of it) so its about time we saw the same thing with Android to get some more competition in this area of products/services. A monopoly in one area is fine, leveraging that monopoly to push other products and services is not.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604465)

If any company should be broken up it is Google with its stranglehold on the smartphone market it has near 85% marketshare

Google doesn't sell smartphones, nor does it control the dominant smartphone OS.

Android is open source and freely available to any manufacturer who wants to use and/or customize it. That's why companies like Xiaomi (which recently rose to be the 5th largest phone maker in the world) can offer a very capable Android phone that has no Google software on it.

Google Services are useful enough that most people want them on their phones, but that doesn't preclude any other manufacturer from making very successful phones without them, as Xiaomi has demonstrated.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604619)

That's why companies like Xiaomi (which recently rose to be the 5th largest phone maker in the world) can offer a very capable Android phone that has no Google software on it.

while Xiaomi does sell phones with MIUI those are incompatible forks of Android and often end up with google play services installed as that proprietary blob is required for many Android applications to work.

Android is open source and freely available to any manufacturer who wants to use and/or customize it.

Windows is the same, no OEM ever needed to ship Windows systems with IE as the default browser.

Google Services are useful enough that most people want them on their phones, but that doesn't preclude any other manufacturer from making very successful phones without them, as Xiaomi has demonstrated.

Google Services are necessary enough that most people need them on their phones, much like IE6 has been necessary for a long time even though nothing ever precluded any OEM from making very successful PCs without it. The google service binary blob is where all the new innovative functionality goes, not into AOSP, so devices without it are becoming less and less compatible.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604835)

Xiaomi does sell phones with MIUI those are incompatible forks of Android and often end up with google play services installed as that proprietary blob is required for many Android applications to work.

Not that I'm aware of. Do you have any examples? I have a Xiaomi Redmi Note right here to test them...

Android is open source and freely available to any manufacturer who wants to use and/or customize it.

Windows is the same

Are you serious?

Google Services are necessary enough that most people need them on their phones,

No they're not, my Redmi Note doesn't have them or need them.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604943)

Not that I'm aware of. Do you have any examples? I have a Xiaomi Redmi Note right here to test them...

Yahoo Weather, FaceMap, uPackingList, Weather Services PRO, VoiceDirectory, WindFinder, FloatingBrowser, Golf Frontier, full!screen+, HoverBrowser, ZeroConf, Flash Search, Bonjour Browser, Tourist, myGuardian, FriendCaster, Parkdroid, Multitasker, and many, many, many more. The list is growing every day as apps look to implement new features only found in google play services.

Are you serious?

Yes, you quite clearly cut off the sentence, perhaps you are not familiar with punctuation in the English language. The issue in question is anti-trust, specifically the inclusion of IE in the product, and in the context of this discussion the ability for OEMs to customize/remove the component that creates the anti-trust issue is the same. Android being open source is irrelevant to the discussion.

No they're not, my Redmi Note doesn't have them or need them.

I am sure the Redmi Note itself doesnt need them but if you want to run the growing list of Android applications that rely on newer features of Android they are becoming more and more necessary. The writing's on the wall, if you want to run Android apps from here on in then google play services is more and more necessary.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605125)

Do you understand what the term "Services" means? All of those apps you listed are links to back-end services provided by Google. They're necessary if you want to use Google's SERVICES, not if you want to use Android.

Other providers can offer the same SERVICES and they can enable them on Android. You can use Bing search, you can use WeatherChina, whatever, you can use any other SERVICE provider that matches your needs.

Do you know that most of those apps you listed are also available on iOS? They're not tied into Android, they're tied into Google SERVICES because the SERVICE is what people get the apps to use!

Frankly, given a moment's thought, the whole premise of your argument is ridiculous. So why the scare mongering?

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 3 months ago | (#47605167)

That's why companies like Xiaomi (which recently rose to be the 5th largest phone maker in the world) can offer a very capable Android phone that has no Google software on it.

while Xiaomi does sell phones with MIUI those are incompatible forks of Android and often end up with google play services installed as that proprietary blob is required for many Android applications to work.

Android is open source and freely available to any manufacturer who wants to use and/or customize it.

Windows is the same, no OEM ever needed to ship Windows systems with IE as the default browser.

Google Services are useful enough that most people want them on their phones, but that doesn't preclude any other manufacturer from making very successful phones without them, as Xiaomi has demonstrated.

Google Services are necessary enough that most people need them on their phones, much like IE6 has been necessary for a long time even though nothing ever precluded any OEM from making very successful PCs without it. The google service binary blob is where all the new innovative functionality goes, not into AOSP, so devices without it are becoming less and less compatible.

I have a kindle fire tablet it runs Android with exactly zero google services.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605269)

Windows is the same, no OEM ever needed to ship Windows systems with IE as the default browser.

Are you insane?

The whole point of the United States v. Microsoft Corporation case was that Microsoft had claimed Windows and IE were now the same product, and were inextricably linked together! Here, read page 64...

http://law.justia.com/cases/fe... [justia.com]

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605461)

Microsoft had claimed Windows and IE were now the same product, and were inextricably linked together

What they meant was that they were using the MSHTML component in multiple parts of Windows for rendering UI.
When Windows 7 came out, they offered the option to remove the browser application (which uses the MSHTML component).

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#47604211)

And every ISP should be split from its content provider (both Cableco and Telco) but it won't happen...

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

youngone (975102) | about 3 months ago | (#47604537)

The second part of your post is why they're in trouble. I won't buy any of their products either. Neither will lots of other people.

Re:That kinda sucks (2)

BobNET (119675) | about 3 months ago | (#47603661)

My PRS-650 was one of the few Sony products I've ever used that didn't suck.

Then again, I never installed the software that came with it -- only calibre.

Re:That kinda sucks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603679)

The real problem is you cant just make decent hardware and expect it to sell. The same issue exists with the slew of Android tablets out there, sure there is decent hardware and an operating system but theres not much you can do with them beyond web browsing (which historically hasnt been that great, especially the flagship Nexus 7, maybe they fixed that in the 2013 version) as there is very little in the way of useful tablet applications for them so you get the crappy experience of up-scaled phone applications.

Even the Nexus 7 is pretty useless given the dropping prices of large screen Android smartphones, combine that with the lack of tablet-specific applications and all you have is a slightly larger phone that can't make phone calls. I am not saying there isnt a market for it but it has been conclusively proven that the market is very small indeed. Sony had the same problem, sure their device was cheap but nobody wants a useless device no matter how cheap it is.

Re: That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604339)

At home I used to balance a laptop on my stomach when I looked something up but now that we have a couple of tablets the laptop is strictly for work. Tablets are great coffee table thingies. Entertain the kids, play a quick game of whatever, etc. We're getting good use from ours.

Re: That kinda sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604395)

At home I used to balance a laptop on my stomach when I looked something up

wow, lose weight feel great. if you need to balance it on your stomach to look something up then the only thing you should be looking up is how to lose that stomach!

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604487)

sure there is decent hardware and an operating system but theres not much you can do with them beyond web browsing

Huh?

What a weird thing to say.

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 months ago | (#47604677)

What a weird thing to say.

Indeed. Web server stats show hardly anyone browses the web on their Android tablet, so we would be expected to believe that people just buy them to use as doorstops or something.

Back in the real world, I very rarely use the web browser on my Android tablet, because all the sites I normally use it to visit have apps.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605157)

Sony can't, because they've pissed off so many people with their BS, their NIH and proprietary crap. The great unwashed avoid the brand outside of gaming and movies (which, let's be honest, no one even noticed what properties they own).

When asked what camera, laptop, HDTV, speakers/amp/receiver to buy, Sony the name people are told to avoid by those tech types often consulted before purchases.

Factor in the 10-20% Sony badge price hike mentality, and you can see why they are going to end up little more than a media corporation that makes profession gear too. Which is a shame, as their engineers are excellent. E.g. compare the guts of an XBone (plus external brick) to the more powerful PS4 with internal PSU.

Re:That kinda sucks (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 months ago | (#47603693)

Unfortunately that is pretty much an apt description of everything Sony has made in the past 2 decades or so, really slick hardware with crap software and frustrating incompatibilities. They either need to just do a clean sweep of their software division or else just become a hardware design consulting company.

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603795)

Honestly, I know what you mean, and agree with you in general, but with the e-readers that wasn't my experience at all.

The e-readers were top of their class; the software features were great, and they were generally really good about format compatibility, unencumbered by the sort of crap being pushed by Amazon.

Sony also came way before anyone else in bringing e-ink to the market.

I'm really sad to hear that they're pulling out of the e-reader market. Their professional large-format e-reader is actually exactly what I need, even more so than a tablet; the only obstacle to me buying it is the extreme price. I was hoping it would trickle down to a more consumer-grade model--maybe the price will still come down?

In the case of their e-readers it's not poor software, but them not being hooked into a large publisher or book distributor. I saw this as a strength, but I guess for most people it's a liability (another thing that makes me sad, as it suggests people don't see the importance of separating hardware from content provision to avoid monopolies and encourage competition).

p.s. I'm amazed that people don't see the parallels between Sony and Apple, as your statement that they produce "really slick hardware with crap software and frustrating incompatibilities" could be said about Apple just as well. In that regard I see Apple as sort of being the contemporary equivalent of the 80s and 90s Sony. I say that as someone who's pretty satisfied with their Macbook Air, and who is a happy owner of a number of Sony products. I can see Apple sort of heading down the same path.

Re:That kinda sucks (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603807)

Sony products fro the early 90s to the late 2000s had two defining qualities:
- they were loaded with proprietary cr*p. Sony suffered the worst case of NIH ever. They had to have their own everything, from music compression to memory cards. This cost them a bundle in engineering, wasted time reinventing the wheel, and made for subpar products because the customers had to buy expensive gadgets that wouldn't be any use with anything else or had to be transcoded or whatever.
- they were infected with DRM schemes. From the VHS experience they seem to have got the idea that they _had_ to have the content providers on board, plus for a while they had their own music and films studios. Again this made for subpar customer experience.

And also, like you said, their software was just bad.

The result of that is that they missed out on just about every category of electronic gizmo that hit the market in that time period. Phones, mp3 player, organizers, laptops, tablets, you name it.

With the image and brand recognition they had, they should have been Apple. The rest is history.

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603735)

If sony is the one that came up with e-ink I hope they make a bunch of money off the patents, because e-ink displays are simply the best for e-readers.
I've never used one made by sony, but I really like my kindle paper white. I can't imagine trying to read a book on an ipad or similar for several hours.
I did try out a sony one at some point, but back then it sucked a bit (so did all the others). The screen refresh rate was simply too slow and the pixels were too big.

Re:That kinda sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603977)

E Inc is its own company. SONY was one of their first big customers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

Re:That kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603871)

I switched to a Kindle because the Kindle of the time was significantly lighter and had a better battery life, and the later Sony readers had a touchscreen which gave the e-ink screen a blurry, shiny look. I object to the claim that the lackluster store and software are the only reason people didn't buy them.

Nobody cares (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47603551)

The Sony Reader has been available at my grocery outlet for $50 for ages now. Nobody buys them.

Re:Nobody cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603629)

The Sony Reader has been available at my grocery outlet for $50 for ages now. Nobody buys them.

Which outlet?

Re:Nobody cares (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47603637)

This outlet [groceryoutlet.com] . Has the Sony reader for $50. And it's had them for months, perhaps even over a year now. They're so crap they're pullbacks.

They still do a reader for the professional market (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603563)

They still have the Sony DPT-S1 [sony.com] , a large format reader intended for the legal and other professional markets. Costly as heck though.

It's a pity they're exiting the business. I much preferred the Sony devices to the Kindle both for the build quality and for its flexibility about formats, which is a must if you provide most of your own reading material instead of purchasing it through Amazon or the Sony ebook store. The remaining alternatives to the Kindle (Kobo and various janky Chinese and Russian devices) routinely fall short in one or the other. For example, the Kobo doesn't have PDF reflow.

Re:They still do a reader for the professional mar (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 3 months ago | (#47603719)

Sad indeed. Sony should have learned something from their console business. It isn't so much the console as the games, it isn't so much the ereader as the ebooks. Now it seems their smartphone business is also going dodo.

However I'm curious about this part of your post: "The remaining alternatives to the Kindle (Kobo and various janky Chinese and Russian devices) routinely fall short". Does Russia really manufacture anything besides spyware, rockets, and killing machines?

For reference, here's what Obama said about Russia's manufacturing capability: "http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/03/us-ukraine-crisis-obama-idUSKBN0G30Q920140803"

Re:They still do a reader for the professional mar (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47603887)

various janky Chinese and Russian devices

Some of the Chinese ones aren't so "janky". I've seen Chinese-made ebook readers and tablets that were pretty darn nice, especially for the money.

Re:They still do a reader for the professional mar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603895)

> Does Russia really manufacture anything besides spyware,
> rockets, and killing machines?

check out YotaPhone.com.

They stuck an e-ink screen on the back of a smartphone.

Oh yeah, and Tetris.

take that mr. troll!

Re:They still do a reader for the professional mar (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#47604931)

Well, that's just it. They are withdrawing from the consumer market and sticking with the way overpriced professional market. And besides, their real money is in heavy industry. This entertainment stuff is chump change.

Loved me som PRS-505 (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 3 months ago | (#47603579)

My PRS-505 was great, it was a nice metal case, and it survived in my house where 3 Kindles met a cracked screen fate. Then its battery died and it is $30 for a new one.

But I could see from day one that the library that Sony was offering was pretty much an irrelevancy. I am not sure that a single book they ever offered (not that I looked more than once or twice) caught my interest. I long thought that Sony should have gone enterprise with a very large screen (close to 8 1/2 x 11 as possible) for reading legal documents, documentation, and basically the size that every PDF is aimed at. Then they could have charged quite a bit of cash per unit and banked on the Sony name to give it respectability. So here comes a paperwhite in my future as nothing beats sitting in the sun near the ocean reading a good book.

Re:Loved me som PRS-505 (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 3 months ago | (#47603819)

I long thought that Sony should have gone enterprise with a very large screen (close to 8 1/2 x 11 as possible) for reading legal documents, documentation, and basically the size that every PDF is aimed at.

They did [sony.com]

Re:Loved me som PRS-505 (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47603903)

I always wanted to try one of those for sheet music. The Sony nameplate always put me off, though. I keep hoping someone else makes a large screen PDF reader for the musician market. If it could run Musescore, I'd pre-order.

Re:Loved me som PRS-505 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605633)

Add in a bluetooth foot pedal for page changes and you've got a wonderful device!

Re:Loved me som PRS-505 (1)

MoonlessNights (3526789) | about 3 months ago | (#47604227)

I was very pleased with my 505, as well. I didn't bother with their software (I think it was Windows-only and was mainly used to buy DRM-encumbered stuff from their own store) but just using it as USB mass storage worked well enough for my purposes.

I use it primarily for reading stuff from Project Gutenberg (since there is no DRM insanity) or taking other miscellaneous PDF and text content with me. The screen was quite good and sure beat reading any amount of text off of a glowing screen.

It is too bad that they are leaving the market but I can tell my use-cases aren't those used by the masses so I am not too surprised.

Re:Loved me som PRS-505 (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about 3 months ago | (#47605081)

very large screen (close to 8 1/2 x 11 as possible) for reading legal documents, documentation, and basically the size that every PDF is aimed at

8.27 Ã-- 11.7 would be even better!

Re:Loved me som PRS-505 (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about 3 months ago | (#47605087)

Teach me right not to c&p...

Re:Loved me som PRS-505 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605347)

210x297 would be perfect.

Not sure about the hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603593)

I have a sony (PRS???); my wife has a kindle (paper white?).
The kindle is just a much better experience.

But my Sony has the advantage of being able to use ebooks from the local library.
Oh and it has real buttons! no finger prints.

the market (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47603739)

These devices cry out to be made by casino and found in ever gas station for $5.
The Kindle with the keyboard pretty much perfected the device. It'd be nice if they got color figured out but I don't think anyone wants any more out of these devices. ok ok, put a solar cell on the back or something so you never have to charge it.

Re:the market (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#47604013)

Having owned both the kindle with the keyboard, and the paperwhite, the keyboard had lots of issues. The keyboard wasted a ton of space despite being virtually never used, and the lighting solutions, while functional, could have looked better, and were not that battery efficient.

I think my ideal kindle would be the Paperwhite, but with physical page turn buttons.

Re:the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604249)

Most grown up books don't have pictures. Color is useless.

It's a Dang Shame (3, Interesting)

Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) | about 3 months ago | (#47603767)

I'm kind of sad to see these devices fall off the market, though I can't say I didn't see it coming. They closed their "Sony Reader Store" for ebooks on the 20th of March, and sent another email detailing how to switch to Kobo. I've had a PRS-T1 for years now, and I love it. It's got a super nice feature where you could long-press a word you don't know and it would show you its meaning on its internal dictionary, or you could try searching google and wikipedia for it (if you were connected to wifi). It's so handy that when I switch back to regular books after a couple sessions with my ereader, I find myself trying to look up words in regular books by putting my finger on them. With the wifi off (or set to standby), the device supposedly will go for a month of regular (read: three or four hours daily) use. Never tested it, but boy it was nice, especially in an era of charge-nightly smartphones.

By far the best feature was that my PRS-T1 seems to be perfectly sized for my hand. I can hold it in my left hand and swipe the screen (to change pages) with my thumb, comfortably. Combined with the fact that it only weighs a couple of ounces, and it's actually possible to do extremely comfortable one-handed reading. I should go plug in the thing. And find more books for it. And read more.

Sigh.

Re:It's a Dang Shame (1)

LesFerg (452838) | about 3 months ago | (#47603957)

I love my PRS-T1 too, but sadly the dictionary app got grundled and if I accidentally activate it the unit freezes and needs to be rebooted.

It would be great if Sony could unlock these readers to allow us to add different reader apps. There are a few hack instructions on the web but they seem to apply to specific regional versions, so I don't want to brick the thing entirely by taking the risk.

The main issue with putting a standard Android app on the T1 appears to be getting its display mode modified to remove scrolling and unnecessary animations, also they need to be lightweight apps that the slow CPU won't have fits on.

Re:It's a Dang Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605651)

To stop the freezing delete every file and directory under READER/[...]/cache/books (google Dictionary Freeze SONY-PRS for more details). Worked like a charm for me.

Re:It's a Dang Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604609)

It's got a super nice feature where you could long-press a word you don't know and it would show you its meaning on its internal dictionary, or you could try searching google and wikipedia for it (if you were connected to wifi).

The thing is that this "super nice" feature was implemented better on the Kindles (starting with their first gen - while the Sony e-readers of the time like the PRS-505 lacked one). And let's not talk about the fact that instead of just WiFi you can reach wikipedia (or any site if you have the Kindle Keyboard) from anywhere in the world via free 3G for life. And we haven't even discuss the real advantages of a Kindle over a PRS... In short if you like the sony ereader, you would probably go crazy with a Kindle (not Fire obviously) - I've had both.

Re:It's a Dang Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605143)

In FBreader, you select the word and a little button shows up to look it up in the dictionary.

It's e-reader, not ereader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603801)

Take that fucking joint out of your mouth and do your job, for once.

The Million Dollar Question (0)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 3 months ago | (#47603909)

DRM?

Re:The Million Dollar Question (3, Informative)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | about 3 months ago | (#47604207)

Not sure now, but a few years ago the Sony reader had less restrictions than most (if that's what you're implying) - since it was able to read multiple formats, and no DRM requirements, i made it my choice, and we have 3 of them (different generations) in the house now. Will miss future iterations!

Re:The Million Dollar Question (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 3 months ago | (#47604251)

I'm asking more about what happens to DRM'd content that was purchased from Sony's ebook store now that Sony is pulling out (e.g. authorization servers).

Re:The Million Dollar Question (2)

gsnedders (928327) | about 3 months ago | (#47604667)

I have a PRS-T1. I've never bought anything from Sony's store (it only existed in the UK for a bit over two years, compared with the eight or so in the US!). To my knowledge, the device supports ADEPT only, and once the content is decrypted once it is forever accessible on that device unless you revoke it (there is no online checking). So, uh, at least content already readable will remain as such on devices already authorised.

Also note that ADEPT has long been broken (it's got a good cryptographic basis, but there's almost no obfuscation in the system, so it's pretty useless as DRM), so it's /really not difficult/ to break content out.

Quickly Googling makes it sound like customers had their accounts transferred over to Kobo (thereby losing no content), unless they opted out (and I haven't looked closely to see what happened in that case).

Re:The Million Dollar Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605193)

I'm asking more about what happens to DRM'd content that was purchased from Sony's ebook store now that Sony is pulling out (e.g. authorization servers).

Buyers were given the option of transferring existing purchases to the Kobo store back in March.

There was plenty of informational emails and warning reminders up until the eventual closure of the the Sony ebook store.

I guess if they didn't transfer over the books are now gone. The purchases I had transferred over just fine.

I was actually thinking it would be some long convoluted process to transfer, but it was a fairly simple process which was detailed in the emails.

Re:The Million Dollar Question (1)

plover (150551) | about 3 months ago | (#47604333)

Sony's strong push for DRM on everything from VHS to DAT to DVD to BluRay to Memory Stick has made me a Sony hater forever. They have lobbied for every industry restriction on fair use they can, and their campaign donations [opensecrets.org] have funded congressional campaigns to advance their anti-fair-use agenda. I stopped buying their products in the 1990s, and I dropped my last aged Sony appliance off at the recycle center just a few weekends ago (a VCR that had been cluttering up the basement.) I can easily survive the rest of my days without Sony products, but I probably won't ever get my missing rights back.

So it's kind of surprising to me to learn that their e-reader wasn't as crippled as their other devices; but then again it could have been completely DRM-free, and it would still have been too little, too late.

Re:The Million Dollar Question (1)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | about 3 months ago | (#47604785)

You are as surprised as i was - it came as a shock to me that it was one of the least DRM'd readers out there!

Second mouse... (0)

jpellino (202698) | about 3 months ago | (#47603983)

gets the cheese.

PRS-500 owner (4, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | about 3 months ago | (#47603997)

I liked my PRS-500. I thought it was a decent device, with so-so software. I didn't use it much after the first month or so. Then I got a Kindle. It more than doubled my daily reading and I still carry it always with me, several years later. In retrospect, I realized that I liked the PRS-500 just because it had the first good display I had seen for reading, but the software implementation, both on the device and the PC/store part were the bare minimum to make an "ebook reader" type device. I saw that some PRS-500/505 users gave it a little more life with Calibre later on, but that was not thanks to Sony. So I don't know about "hardware genius", was it perhaps before serious competitors started coming with devices which were at least on-par hardware-wise but had some brilliant ideas and software behind them?

For another $90 & 114gm... (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 3 months ago | (#47604001)

you get an iPad mini. Even Amazon figured this angle out. So this is not really surprising.

Re:For another $90 & 114gm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604583)

You seriously think that an ipad mini is the alternative to a sony e-reader? Realy? It is like recommending an AC unit to someone who is asking about a refrigerator.

Re:For another $90 & 114gm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604947)

you get an iPad mini. Even Amazon figured this angle out. So this is not really surprising.

LOL, yeah, right. Show me an iPad Mini with an e-Paper display and I'll consider it.

Dammit, I got fooled again. (2)

cl3v3r (3775089) | about 3 months ago | (#47604061)

I thought minidisc was the bees knees. Then the Clie. Now the Sony E-reader bites the dust. I need to find a different brand :(

Re:Dammit, I got fooled again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604139)

The last sony device I bought was quite literally a walkman.

Re:Dammit, I got fooled again. (1)

lindseyp (988332) | about 3 months ago | (#47605491)

Minindisc was awesome, it only failed outside Asia because in Europe and America, where generally cheaper products were the norm, people started ripping mp3s to CDR en-masse before MD players were cheap enough for mass market.

The Clie was good, if a little fiddly. I knew a few people with those. Where *that* failed was sony's protectionis hogging of the Palm OS and getting usurped by Symbian and then Microsoft on smartphones until Apple took over the world.

The e-reader was behind Amazon by far in terms of simplicity, wireless connectivity, and catalogue.

In each case it seems Sony's made a product which enjoyed limited success amongst geeks willing to pay a premium for a couple of unique features, but failed to grasp mass market with affordable and easy-to-use products.

Yup, you need a different brand. I'm thinking the same about Apple these days.

Happy PRS-T2 owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604093)

I'm a happy PRS-T2 owner, I use it at least twice per week to read magazines downloaded via Calibre, and sometimes books.

It is light, has a nice design, and I can copy ebooks via USB (it shows up like a storage device), so I don't have to install any crappy software.

It does have some shortcomings:
- The microSD opening is covered by the case, which is a pain to remove
- Can't associate with ad-hoc wifi networks
- Sometimes bugs with refreshing the book catalog
- The book catalog software sucks

I wish I could just rsync or scp ebooks from my computer though, has anybody done this?

All in all an excellent device. I would buy a PRS-T3 if it was rootable.

so at what point (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 months ago | (#47604353)

does sony discontinuing a done product line mean the end of a pioneering company?

One mistake Sony Made (1)

dayton967 (647640) | about 3 months ago | (#47604517)

The biggest mistakes Sony made, was not to take advantage of the educational market. There are many places that are moving from physical text books to electronic versions, Sony should have gotten in early with places like California to provide equipment for the students to access their books, but with the encumbrance created by Sony, and no large retailers in place they lost market share.

Re:One mistake Sony Made (3, Interesting)

edremy (36408) | about 3 months ago | (#47604569)

I actually tested a couple of ereaders back in the dawn of the e-ink versions for educational use, including the Sony ones.

They sucked. Utterly sucked. Equation formatting was laughably bad. Footnoting was dismal. Diagrams/graphs/pictures were far too small to see and magnify worked poorly (and of course there was no color). Writing text notes was a pain, and bookmarking was far too slow compared to page flipping. PDFs didn't format/reflow/do much of anything right.

It's not all that much better today. I love my Kindle, but I read novels and the like on it. Professional reading is almost always paper text. I've done e-textbooks on an iPad which handles equations and diagrams better, but it's still clunky compared to paper.

Re:One mistake Sony Made (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47605655)

I use one of the big Kindles for viewing PDFs, which gets around the formatting issue, but that's about it as far as serious usage goes. To be honest, Amazon's big innovation wasn't improving the experience, but realising that people would put up with it if it cost as much as a Game Boy.

Sony is too selfish (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 3 months ago | (#47604521)

Sony tries too hard to be completely in charge of every tiny aspect of their products, even when they lack the expertise to actually accomplish it.
They could have partnered with Amazon or B&N right from the beginning, and they would have been a part of something big. But instead they have a tiny part of nothing, all to themselves.

This is what happens when you don't share your toys Sony. Everyone eventually decides to get up and go play somewhere else.

Re:Sony is too selfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605369)

The problem is that Amazon and B&N are only big on the American market. Partnering with them would have had advantages on the U.S. market, but globally, it would have only complicated things.

Sony has been dead since the 90's (2)

WCMI92 (592436) | about 3 months ago | (#47604525)

In the 80's Sony was the gold standard for anything electronic. By the 90's they started living off their name and selling poorly made crap at a premium price. By the 2000's that started catching up to them.

In the 2010's they have become irrelevant.

Sony is soon to follow Radio Shack into history.

They really messed up PRS-T3 (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 3 months ago | (#47604755)

I have the Sony PRS-T2 and it was really good for its time. However, Sony really fluffed PRS-T3 by not having a front light.

However, I think rather than Sony's hardware, it was the software that was better, esp for pdf in this generation. Kobo hardware was better - the aura and aura hd are one step ahead of kindles in hardware but one step behind everyone else.

Finally Sony was the only one with actual buttons. I was really hoping Sony would bring a new reader with frontlight and page turn buttons.

The real money to be made is in selling books and media rather than hardware. So, makes sense Sony bowed out because they aren't in the business of selling books.

They should... (1)

Torp (199297) | about 3 months ago | (#47605073)

... put the PS4 designers in charge of all their product lines. And maybe the ones doing the mobile phones, which aren't bad for cheap Androids. And fire all the rest.

Why is Sony doing so badly (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 3 months ago | (#47605161)

Look at that thing. It's smart, stylish, with a convenient touch screen interface and comes in a range of colours, and a recognised brand. It should do at least as well as the other ebook readers at the same price.

There's somethign really really wrong in Sony that the company is failing to address. Without their video games division I'd be surprised if the company remained afloat at all.

Prime Reason Not to Buy eBooks (2)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 3 months ago | (#47605601)

This is the reason not to buy eBooks. Bye-bye library collection. Bother.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?