New Sony Reader Is Kind Of Pricey For An E-Reader Nobody Wants

Sony Prs T1

Like the Kindle Tablet, the new Sony (NYSE: SNE) Reader has not been officially confirmed for a launch this fall, but this weekend a MobileRead forum user came across an accidentally leaked Dutch product page for the new e-reader, the Sony PRS-T1. One of the keys to widespread e-reader adoption is lower prices, but Sony appears to be bucking that trend by making the PRS-T1 pricier than other e-readers currently on the market. Why?

The Digital Reader runs down the PRS-T1’s features. The Dutch reader is priced at €164.95. That’s about $239 in U.S. dollars, but the Dutch price includes the 19 percent VAT, a user on the MobileRead forums pointed out. But even assuming the U.S. price is 20 percent lower–around $190–or even somewhere between $150 and $190, the Sony would be more expensive than the comparable Kindle, Kobo, and Nook e-readers currently on the market.

What accounts for the higher price? Not the features of the e-reader, which include a touchscreen, wifi and, as Mike Cane points out, a stylus. (That brings to mind Steve Jobs’s 2010 comment: “If you see a stylus, they blew it.”) The reader also has Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Wikipedia search, which could suggest a web browser.

Oh, and it comes in hot pink red.

The Dutch product page is the surest sign yet that Sony is releasing new e-readers, though the rumor mill certainly hasn’t been churning anywhere close to the extent that it has for the Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) tablet. Back in July, Bloomberg reported that Sony would release new e-readers this August.

Sony is also a partner on J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter e-book site Pottermore.com, and I’ve wondered if the company might release a special gimmicky Harry Potter e-reader for kids. The Register reported a rumor that all seven Harry Potter e-books would be bundled exclusively with the new Sony Reader–granting buyers early access. There’s no mention of Harry Potter on the Dutch product page, so maybe Sony’s releasing a separate Harry Potter-themed e-reader as well. But a stylus and Harry Potter e-books are probably not going to be enough to entice buyers away from the Kindle–even the Nook and Kobo–which are heading ever closer to a sub-$100 price.

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