Sony Reader (PRS-500)
- Made by: Sony
- Released: September 2006
- Predecessor: None
- Languages Supported: English
- File Types Supported: PDF, TXT, RTF, LRF, LRX, MP3, AAC, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP; EPUB with firmware upgrade
Taken from cnet for this proof of concept:
The good: Slim and relatively lightweight; screen requires no backlight and is easy to read in bright environments; with the addition of optional memory card (SD or Memory Stick Pro), it's capable of storing thousands of electronic books; font size can be adjusted with a single button push; decent battery life; displays PDF and Word files, most image files, and plays MP3 and AAC audio.
The bad: Overall, the unit feels a tad sluggish, with a short but noticeable delay when turning a page; controls aren't as intuitive as they could be; interface could be slightly easier to use; Sony's online Connect bookstore is still a work in progress; proprietary Connect book files aren't compatible with other devices and are often as expensive as paper books; Connect software isn't available for Mac owners; no support for Audible audio books.
The bottom line: Though the Sony PRS-500 Portable Reader System is an impressive platform for reading e-books and other documents, the price and availability of compatible "books" makes it a tougher sell.
- CPU: Motorola Dragonball MXL
- 64MB RAM
- Operating System: MontaVista Hard Hat Linux 2.4.17
- 6" 800x600 4 grayscale e-paper (E Ink) screen
- SD/MMC/ Memory Stick slot (compatible to FAT/FAT32, SanDisk and Lexar cards are reported to work fine)
- 3.5mm stereo audio jack (audio output)
- USB 1.1 (Type A)
- Battery: Li-ion, not customer changeable
- formats: BBeB, PDF, TXT, RTF, JPG, PNG, MP3, AAC
- original price: $299 (No longer available new)
Sony has been selling e-book devices since 2004. The predecessor of the Sony Portable Reader, the Sony Librie, has been sold only in Japan  and was the first E-Ink enabled e-book device at that time. The Librie failed to be successful mainly due to its limited availability and to lack of content.
In January 2006, Sony surprised the tech community when they announced during the CES in Las Vegas the upcoming launch of the Sony Portable Reader later that year .
PRS-505 for the newer model.
To compare this device with other E-INK devices see: E-book Reader Matrix
Sony has offered to update the PRS500 to include support for ADE ePUB. This upgrade requires a return of the device to the factory. Here are comments on the results: received my upgraded PRS-500 from Sony this morning. Here's the first few observations:
- None of the content was missing. All my books were still there. Apparently, LRF and LRX are still supported.
- The menus on the reader (books by author, date...) now have alphabetical submenus (A-C, etc.)
- No particular difference in speed or behavior except that when I call up a book or change font size, at least for the first time, there is a "formatting" process that takes place for several seconds. (This is not new with this change)
- There is no support for the Mac yet.
- Books can be deleted from menu.
- Supports 64 bit Windows and Windows 7
- Now mounts as a USB removable storage device - no longer dependent on drivers
- PDF reflow
- Able to type in a page to skip to in an e-book
- Now able to specify collections (called tags in Calibre) on both internal memory and Memory Stick
- Various additions to Settings menu
- Detected by and fully functional with Adobe Digital Editions (Windows)
- FAQ: FAQ with official answers from the Sony Team (made before the Sony Reader was released)
- Owners list: Table of MobileRead users who bought the Sony Reader (first must-place when you get your Reader)
- Wishlist: What do you want the Sony Reader to be able to do? Here is the place to put it down
- Warranty options: There are various ways to protect your Sony Reader from accidential drops
- Memory cards list: Compatible and incompatible external memory cards
- Reader reviews: Externals reviews of the Sony Reader chronologically sorted
- Reader previews (old): Sony Reader in the press before the official release
- Sony Reader Questions: Questions from MobileRead users collected before the Sony Reader was released
- Inside photos: Sony Reader inside-out photos
- Sony Reader hack: what else could be done with Sony Reader
- Photo gallery
- Hacking and development
- Sony Reader Review by MobileReader Bob Russell (09/26/2006 EDT)
- Sony Reader Review by MobileReader NatCh (09/26/2006 EDT)
- Sony Reader EPUB firmware upgrade (or trade-in) website.
- Frappr Map
- Sony eBook Library - the official download page for Sony's eBook Library Reader software.
- PRS500 manual for download
- Sony Reader Software Update - Sony's official download page for the first Reader system and software update.
- Reader Warranty on Sony's site