Tech Tuesday (10/13/09): The Sony eBook Reader

(KHNL) - Did you know that books, textbooks and magazines as we know it may soon be a thing of the past? Ever since Amazon's Kindle eBook reader became popular there as has been a peak in consumer interest for eBooks. Ebook readers are small electronic devices that use ePaper display technology, a method of displaying text that's easy on the eyes and bright enough to read in broad daylight. There are many eBook readers available, however the Sony line is well knows for quality and ease of use.

I remember seeing Sony eBook readers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas some years back, long before they were made available to the general public. Although released in 2006, the most significant advances in weight and usability have occurred recently. For example, the model I tested, the PRS-600 has a high resolution 6" ePaper display, 2-week continuous reading battery life, touch screen interface, integrated mp3 player and even a stylus pen to make notes and drawings.

Unlike the other eBook devices, the Sony reader can import and read a variety of book formats. Simply put, this means that eBooks can be purchased from any eBookstore and you own the books yourself. In addition, the Sony can quickly convert, add and make searchable any content including Adobe Pdf and Microsoft Word files. The included stylus pen allows notes and highlights while reading as if writing in an actual book. However, the most impressive feature is the integrated dictionary. Simply highlight a word and the reader will give you its definition.

In August Sony announced that it will be introducing a new line of eBook readers later this year with wireless data connectivity, allowing it to match or surpass the capabilities of Amazon's Kindle. Only time will tell if only a few years from now, like the compact disc, we will come to think of books in a whole new way.