Sony has decided to take on Amazon, with the introduction of a new handheld book reader that is intended to compete with the Kindle. The new eBook reader will rely on a touch-screen interface that is intended to maximize screen space at the cost of bulky buttons. An interesting note is that Sony has already stated that this device was released in Japan – and did horribly. That might seem like a good sign to abandon the unit, especially after Sony concluded that many in the U.S. didn't like the idea of reading a book on a screen. So what is Sony's marketing plan? A rather viral one, in which Sony has trained a thousand people in using the device and have sent them around the U.S. to parade around stores and show it off.
That aside, it does have some interesting features. The interface can be gesture-driven, which might give people a more “real” experience when reading an eBook. It can be used with a stylus, or directly with the hands – another point that might make it attractive. Unfortunately, it also costs $399 – and I don't need to spend $399 in order to read a book. That's not much more than the Kindle, though, so if Amazon can make it succeed perhaps Sony can as well.