Kindle 3 vs Sony Reader 650 – Thoughts

We know what the Kindle 3 is like and we have a basic idea of what the new Sony Reader 650 might be like so Kindle 3 vs Sony Reader 650 is worth looking at.

This post will cover some quick thoughts on Kindle 3 and Sony 650. Note that all information about the Sony 650 is based on rumors. Will update when actual information is out.

Kindle 3 vs Sony Reader 650 – How do they match up?

It seems that the Kindle 3 and the Sony PRS 650 will be very close in lots of areas -

  1. Screen – The rumors about the Sony Readers talk about better screen contrast and other things that strongly suggest the eInk Pearl screen is involved. 
  2. Thinness and Compactness – The Touch Edition was the most compact second generation eReader and the new rumors suggest the 650 will be less than 10 mm thick – that’s .394 inches and close to the Kindle 3’s .335 inches. It’s quite possible it is more compact than Kindle 3 as it won’t have a keyboard or a 2nd LCD screen.
  3. WiFi – Both the 650 and Kindle 3 have WiFi.

They’ll also both be focused on reading. A pretty important distinction since it increasingly looks like the Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader will be the only 3 eReaders left standing once the eReader wars are over.     

Kindle 3 vs Sony 650 – Areas that each wins

Sony Reader 650 advantages -

  1. Touchscreen – supposedly with note taking abilities. Sony had pretty decent touch with free-hand drawing on the Touch Edition and hopefully they’ve improved on that.  
  2. ePub Support.
  3. Support for Library Books.  
  4. Choice of colors for the Sony Reader – Silver, Red, and Black. Kindle 3 is just white or graphite.

Kindle 3 advantages -

  1. Free 3G and free Internet.
  2. Text to Speech. When it is enabled by Publishers. 
  3. Better selection of ebooks. Lower prices for non-Agency Model books.  
  4. Longer battery life. Sony 650 is supposed to have 2 weeks and Kindle has battery life of up to a month.
  5. Higher storage capacity – 4 GB vs Sony 650’s 2 GB.

There are lots of Kindle 3 positives we can’t really list until we know more about the Sony 650.

Things that are unknown -

  1. Sony’s new user interface. How much better will it be? Will it use the touch screen effectively?  
  2. Price. If the Sony isn’t under $200 then this discussion is moot.  
  3. There are rumors of Sony 650 being on Android.
  4. It’s not out of the question that Google Editions is integrated into the new Sony Readers and will be co-launched with them.
  5. Any additional killer features Sony Reader might have.

At this point all we have are rumors – However, the site that broke the news (Sony Insider) claims to have high confidence in its sources and the details do sound a lot like what you’d expect from the next generation of Sony Readers.

Kindle 3 vs Sony Reader 650 – Additional Thoughts

The first thought that comes to mind is that there’s nothing ground-breaking with the Sony Reader 650. Hopefully we’re mistaken and Sony is just hiding some really cool feature. The second thought is that perhaps Sony is doing exactly what Amazon has done with the Kindle 3 – make lots of small improvements and enough solid improvements to create a killer Sony Reader 650.

Don’t like Sony’s convoluted naming scheme – We’ve had 500, 505, 600, and now 650. They’re running out of options – How long before we get the Sony 666 in flaming red?

Not sure why Sony and Nook aren’t announcing their new eReaders. It would probably help slow down Kindle 3 sales if users knew more about the forthcoming competing options. It suggests that both B&N and Sony are adding last-minute features to match up favorably against Kindle 3.

Will any eReader other than Kindle 3 support accessibility and text to speech? They seem such obvious features to add with such a huge potential market and so much value for owners.

An early September release of both Nook 2 and Sony Reader 650 seems a virtual certainty. It’ll result in a lot of coverage of eReaders in September. In a way Amazon has made a good move by announcing Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi early, wrapping up preorders, and figuring out what rate to produce Kindle 3s at.

On the other hand Sony and B&N know exactly what the target is and they might surprise us by exceeding the Kindle 3. The ePub advantage isn’t really a significant one until the support for library books and support for other stores comes into play. At that point it becomes, perhaps, the Kindle 3’s biggest weakness.

September is going to be the month of Kindle 3 vs Nook 2 vs Sony 650 and it’s going to be very exciting. Perhaps we’ll even see some price-cuts.

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