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New Sony Reader PRS-T2 up for Pre-Order on J&R Website

August 9th, 2012 by · 30 Comments · hardware news

Thanks to some FCC paperwork we’ve known for about a months now that Sony had a new ereader in the works, but due to the confidentiality requests that was about all I knew.

Until today.

I’ve just come across a new product listing on the J&R website for the new Sony Reader. From what I can tell the PRS-T2 looks to be almost identical to the current Sony Reader with only a few minor cosmetic differences as well as some tweaks to the software.

Update: The listing page on J&R is down, but someone did grab a screenshot.

The T2 has the same Pearl E-ink screen, Wifi, touchscreen tech, and microSD card slot found on the current model, but the dimensions show it as being slightly smaller and (possibly) slightly thicker. As you can see from the image at right, the T2 swaps out the hard buttons found on the T1 with either smaller buttons or touch-sensitive pads (it’s not clear from the photos). I’d say it’s probably even running Android, just like the T1. And this ereader is also going to come with a pre-loaded copy of a Harry Potter ebook.

As for the software, I don’t see any changes to format support (no Epub3), but there is a mention of Evernote Clearly and Facebook support. I’m not sure how the Facebook integration works, but Evernote Clearly looks to be a way for you to save blog posts and news articles from your browser so you can read them later. This sounds similar to Pocket and Instapaper, so I guess this means you’ll be able to push web content to the PRS-T2.

And of course the new T2 will have support for direct download of library ebooks, just like the T1.

There’s no mention of a release date, but I expect this ereader to hit the market some time in the next couple months. The current retail is listed as $129,but that could change.

All in all this ereader looks to be just a minor improvement on the current model. And that is deeply disappointing. For a couple years now I’ve been annoyed with Sony because in that time their ereaders have been consistently a step behind the competition. They released a cheap Wifi equipped ereader over a year after Amazon and B&N, they released a competitor to the Nook Touch and kobo Touch close to 4 months behind them, and now Sony has basically re-released their current ereader.

The Sony Reader PRS-T2 looks to be effectively the same damn device as the T1. For the past year, Sony stood still while B&N, Amazon, and even frigging Kobo advanced their designs.

So what could Sony have added to the T2? Color E-ink is out; the 6″ panel is not in production. But Sony could have used a higher resolution screen. I was half expecting that the new T2 would have the HD E-ink screen (1024×768) that LG Display announced earlier this year. When you combine the improved resolution with the Sony Reader’s annotation ability, the resulting device would have been droolworthy.

Hell, I’m dumbstruck to figure out why Sony isn’t at least using the high resolution screen that LG Display released last year; that would have been enough to make everyone want this ereader.

Eh. Sony used to be a good company once; clearly that time is past.

J&R website

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30 Comments so far ↓

  • yuzutea

    Nothing in e-ink reader tech has been really interesting lately. But then nothing can really advance until the screens do.

    Sony has a rationale for continuing to make ereaders, however: the Japanese market.

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  • fjtorres

    The quoted dimensions are identical for the T1 and T2.
    Looks like they simply changed the casing from the panned glossy plastic to a matte plastic and the physical buttons to (capacitance?) touch buttons. My experience with those types of buttons on gadgets is not good.
    Looks like a re-release of last year’s model, more of a T1.01 than a T2.

    This saves me money, though; I was afraid they’d be doing a front-lit reader with better hackability and room for more and bigger android apps. Unless this listing is way off I have no interest in this.

    Next!

    • Nate Hoffelder

      They don’t quite match, no. At least not the ones I found online.

      • fjtorres

        JandR may be confused but they are listing the T1 as:

        •Dimensions (Approx.) : 6 7/8 x 4 3/8 x 3/8 inches (H/W/D); Weight (Approx.) : 5.9 oz
        http://www.jr.com/sony/pe/SON_PRST1BC/

        and the T2 as:
        •Dimensions (Approx.): 6 7/8 x 4 3/8 x 3/8 inches (H/W/D)
        •Weight (Approx.): 5.9 oz

        Same price, too.

        The two listings are clearly different–the T1 mentions audio playback and 12 dictionaries, the T2 six dictionaries and the Harry Potter Book–so it doesn’t look like they cut-n-pasted the T1 specs for the t2.
        (shrug)

        • Mike Cane

          J&R’s listings have become sketchy recently. I had to request they delete all the Android tablets they had listed as “Discontinued” and they did. Listings went from 148 tablets down to 75! Also, they list the Archos 80 G9 as running Android 3.2, while they marked as Discontinued — and then deleted — the 80 G9 listing that listed it as properly running Android 4.0. The 3.2 listing should have been deleted instead. Go figure.

          • Tyler

            Since they discontinued the cases for the T1 Readers and they are starting to be cleared out, I would think that the cases are different sizes on purpose. This way they can sell new cases and people can’t recycle the old ones.

  • DavidW

    I was hoping that all of the next gen eink readers would have hd displays. Well my fingers are still crossed that Amazon will deliver even if both BN and Sony have not.

  • Isles

    PLEASE, someone, anyone, release an HD eReader! I don’t want to have to order an Onyx Boox i62 HD from EUROPE just so I can enjoy the vivid clarity and beauty of an HD E Ink screen. I thought for sure that Sony would be the first to step up and muscle back into a respected place in the market by playing the HD screen card. eReaders have been using the exact same Pearl display for the past two+ years. I love my PRS-950, and my Kindle 3 has great resolution, but I’m ready for an upgrade.

  • fjtorres

    Strictly speaking, *nobody* has an HD eink device.
    HD properly means 1280×720 or higher.
    Existing 6in eink readers run either SVGA (800×600) or XGA (1024×768) resolution.
    (In the early days of digital HDTV some asian plasma display vendors tried to pass off XGA displays as “HD” but consumers saw past that ploy.)

    As the iRiver reviews made it clear, for mostly-text display the quality of output of an XGA panel is not significantly better that a well-antialiased SVGA, if at all. XGA resolution *is* noticeably better for color displays but even there sub-pixel addressing, properly implemented, can close the gap for text. Graphics and video are a different creature, of course.

    The reason we haven’t seen much action in XGA displays except for premium-priced nice products is because the panels are more expensive and don’t do enough to justify the cost. It is cheaper and more cost-effective to fine-tune the fonts, controller, and anti-aliasing. And cheaper sells more eink readers in a market flooded with sub- $200 android tablets in *color*. To say nothing of the baby unicorn.

    Sony not going XGA is probably smart since their goal with the T1/T2 is to go cheap. (Especially the T2 if they really took out the audio.)
    Not so smart, the lack of frontlight.
    (But they did get badly burned when they tried it last.)

    The T2 looks like something that will sell profitably at US$99 or even $89.

    • Nate Hoffelder

      You’re correct in that I couldn’t see any difference between the current Kindle screen and the screen on the iriver Story HD, but I think Sony could have done something amazing with it.

      • fjtorres

        Sony has *always* had the ability to do amazing things.
        They just don’t have the judgment to choose to do them.

        Their value system is way out of whack with the realities of the marketplace so they zig when they should zag and vice versa.
        No better example than eReaders, where they pushed a premium-pricing strategy when the market was exploding and was begging for low cost models to build installed base, and now that everybody is playing with the same feature set (Pearl, infrared touch, to month battery, wifi, library ebooks) and a premium model might be welcome as a step-up for avid readers, *now* they choose to go with a generic stripped model with *less* features than last year’s mode. And at a time when Facebook is *losing* users (a sign that *that* fad is fading), that is when they choose to make Facebook support a key selling point.
        They just don’t seem to get it.

    • DavidW

      This is not correct. In the tv world, a display must only be able to resolve 720 lines to be an hd display. That means that even the low res 1024×768 plasmas can be sold as hdtvs (and they are legally sold with that title). Extrapolating to ereaders a 1024×768 ereader can also be called an hd display.

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  • Mike Cane

    Unless they’ve improved the internals drastically, the Nook Touch with Glowlight remains the best eInk device. Root that baby and you have a better Android tablet than the T1 ever could be.

    • DavidW

      A slow, ugly eink reader can never be a good android tablet. Saying that a rooted glowlight is a better tablet than the t1 is like saying that if you strap wings to it, the glowlight would be a better airplane than a bowling ball. Technically true, but not saying much.

    • cookie

      My enthusiasm for rooting ebook readers has ended. I have rooted boot the Nook Touch and Sony Reader, and installed all kinds of apps, but found them less than satisfying to use.

  • Vincent

    The geniuses at Sony finally figured out that a shiny bezel is not a good idea and that is the reason I did not buy the T1. Now, I just consider the Sony products as not worth the consideration.

    • cookie

      Sony’s reader still has certain features that are better than the alternative EPUB readers, and if you value those features, than they make the device worth considering.

  • Void

    I’m upset about this if it is true. Sony is STILL the only way for me to get my meticulously organized Calibre e-book collection to stay organized when I transfer them over. I have hundreds of books all categorized by series and genre, etc. and everyone but Sony expects me to sit there and redo all my organization one book at a time.

    If Sony tech goes down the crapper I may just go back to physical books to avoid the stupid file table DRM everyone uses. WHY CAN’T I ORGANIZE MY BOOKS ON MY COMPUTER!!!

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