April 16, 2004, 9:54 AM — Books are one of a number of everyday items that seem just perfect as they are, but that hasn't stopped several companies trying to replace them with electronic versions. Sony Corp. will try later in April, when it launches a new electronic book reader with a newly developed display that is said to look almost the same as a newspaper. It's one of a number of noteworthy new products that Japanese consumers can look for in electronics stores from this month.
Also new is an updated version of Toshiba Corp.'s cool Gigabeat digital music player, a cell phone that can be used to watch television and, after a long delay, the first product to support a removable hard disk drive system called IVDR.
Sony EBR-1000EP E-Book Reader
Sony Corp. is the latest company to try to sell the idea of electronic books to what has been a skeptical marketplace to date. On April 24 it will launch an electronic book reader in the Japanese market that is compatible with a new format called Broadband e-Book (BBeB). Sony has worked with E Ink Corp. and Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV on the 6-inch display used in the EBR-1000EP. The display has a resolution of 170 ppi (pixels per inch) and is said to be easy to read with an appearance similar to that of a newspaper. Electronic books can be transferred via USB (Universal Serial Bus) from a personal computer or read from Memory Stick cards. The device has 10M bytes of internal memory which is enough space for around 500 books, assuming a count of 250 pages per book, Sony said. The device measures 126 millimeters by 190 millimeters by 13 millimeters and weighs 190 grams. Sony says a set of four AAA alkali batteries should provide enough power for around 10,000 pages of reading. It will cost around ¥40,000 (US$370).
Web: http://www.sony.co.jp/LIBRIE/ (Japanese)
Toshiba Gigabeat G21