The twist in this plot? “Turns out Sony (NYSE: SNE) E-Book Readers sell after all,” WSJ.com notes. Indeed, it’s sold about 300,000 of them and three million e-books worldwide since launching in October 2006. That’s exceeded the gadget-maker’s forecasts, personal mobile unit SVP Steve Haber tells the site. But, for those still anticipating an “iPod of e-books,” it’s still way short of the 1.3 million units the music player sold in it’s first two years.
That said, the iPod didn’t truly take off until more than two years into its life cycle. For now, Sony is playing against only a handful of rivals, Amazon’s net-connected Kindle chief among them, and that’s sold out with an 11- to 13-week order backlog. Though secretive Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) won’t break out the numbers, Forrester Research (via Forbes) reckons 400,000 Kindles have sold since its launch in November 2007, though CNN hedges its bets at “more than a quarter-million units,” a lead attributed to better marketing and more celeb endorsements. Either way, it’s still faring better than Sony’s offering.
Is the internet the differentiator? Haber tells WSJ.com that Kindle’s wireless book downloading is “not quite as important” because time spent at PCs make Sony’s conventional wired sync no chore. But if Kindle’s Whispernet connection, which can download newspapers and blogs not just books, is the ace up Amazon’s sleeve, Sony also plans to launch a device with wireless connectivity, the story says.