Sony has released their eReader today– the PRS-500 is available in the US for $349. Guess what else you can get today for $349? The 770 and PRS-500 share nearly the same screen specs (800×600 for the PRS-500 and 800×480 for the 770) however the PRS-500’s screen is non-color. Beyond that, they are very different machines. However, there is no reason that the 770 couldn’t be doing what the PRS-500 can do… read current eBooks with a fabulous display.
One of the biggest advantages is that the Sony is launching with thousands of real books available to purchase and read. It helps being Sony. Over on the 770 I’m stuck with the freebie books, most of which are not very well formatted to begin with and Plucked webpages. Which is better than nothing for many people, myself included, but why not create a new revenue stream for Nokia? I.e. Nokia could (with a lot of planning admittedly) start (re)selling eBooks for the 770- and even for other Linux GTK devices. Once they have a reader in place.
Roger Sperberg had this to say about the PRS-500 back in Dec 2005. He predicts it will bomb. While I don’t dispute that, I hope it sells well enough to convince someone that the 770 could do with a real ebook reader- one that will work with current, commercial books. Here is Robert’s Open Letter to Dr. Ari Jaaksi regarding eBooks.
Of course the Sony is locked down with DRM, and it doesn’t do much else but allow you to read PDFs…. but they are going to push into an area that the 770 should be all over: eBooks. What is needed is a reader that supports DRM, say MobiPocket, who makes readers for PocketPC and Palm. Al at 770 Fan contacted Mobipocket back in at the start of February, and discovered that MobiPocket is waiting for java on the 770… which is a joke, with memory being what it is now. Nokia should contact MobiPocket and help them get a native GTK PocketRead app for the 770.
Update: This is an interesting spec for ebooks, and a reader supporting them: however it also requires java. The Open Reader is a set of XML specs for eBooks- the first reader built using the OR Spec is Thout from OSoft. OSoft has a list of books they publish for reading with Thout. I think Nokia should take a look at OpenReader perhaps…