Sony Reader Questions

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Last update: 08-01-06

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[edit] Shipping

  • Why the various delays? (Rumors swirl from production shortage of E Ink displays, to lack of interested publishers, to problems with the use of Kinoma’s core technology)
  • Last week you revealed that the Reader will be released in fall. Can you provide a more precise time frame?
  • When and under what circumstances will the Reader become available in other countries? (e.g. in Europe, Asia)
  • What will come “in the box” with the Reader?

[edit] Hardware

  • Is the battery user-replaceable?
  • How long does it take to recharge the battery?
  • What sort of real-life battery life should be expected in terms of hours spent reading?
  • Is the case of the Reader more durable than it was for the Sony LIBRIe? (a user reports that the pearlescent plastic of his LIBRIe has chipped out to the point that the main circuit board has failed – because the case became too flexible)
  • What is the expected lifetime of the E Ink display?
  • Can the customer buy extra warranty coverage for a cracked screen (as you sometimes can do with notebooks)?
  • Have you been able to remedy or at least improve the “ghosting effect” that has afflicted displays of previous E Ink devices such as the Sony LIBRIe?
  • Are partial screen refreshes (e.g. to pop up menu interfaces) faster than full refreshes?
  • Is the display safe for air travel?
  • How much of the 64 Mbytes of internal Flash memory will be available to the user?
  • What maximum capacities of SD Cards and Sony Memory Stick flash media are supported?
  • Does storing content on flash media have a negative impact on the screen refresh rate and/or on battery life?
  • Does the Reader support charging through USB?
  • Can the Reader act as a USB host to support external USB hardware (e.g. a miniature PDA keyboard)? If not today, maybe in the future?
  • Can the Reader act as a USB mass storage device if attached to a computer?
  • Would you recommend taking the Reader to the beach?

[edit] Software

  • No one loves tinkering with technology more than a Linux user. Assuming the software is based on Linux, can you tell us a bit more about its underlying specs? (e.g. which Linux distribution, kernel version, etc.)
  • Will you provide an SDK that could enable developers to extend the functionality of the Reader?
  • Has the software undergone a thorough beta testing, i.e. is it proven stable and easy to navigate also by computer illiterate users? (question asked by iRex iLiad users who currently have to deal with unfinished software)
  • Will you plan firmware updates, and if yes, how will they be delivered to the end user?
  • Will you provide software support for Mac OS/Linux customers; in particular, will Mac/Linux users be able to convert file formats? If not today, do you have plans to do so in the near future? (we got a lot of Mac OS/Linux users who have been anxiously asking this question)
  • Can the device be protected with a PIN code?
  • Do you include basic games, or could they be downloaded later (such as Solitaire, Backgammon, Checker, etc.)?
  • Do you offer basic PIM functionalities?

[edit] Usability

  • How long does it take to boot up when turned on/when resetted?
  • Can I bookmark a location in a book and return to it later?
  • Can I "jump" forward/backward while reading by something other than one page (chapter, 10 page jumps, etc)?
  • Can I reconfigure hardware buttons?
  • Can I open various e-books at a time and switch among them? (useful e.g. for the use of a dictionary)
  • Can I listen to songs while reading? If yes, can I change a track without having to exit the book I’m reading?
  • Can I annotate content?
  • Can I organize content (e.g. in folders), and if yes, can I do this also through the included desktop software?

[edit] E-book formats

  • Can I read content that I previously bought for the Sony LIBRIe?
  • When will you release the specs of the BBeB format? Will the specs be sufficient for third parties to develop or port reading software for the Reader?
  • Does the BBeB format support true italic (rather than just displaying a slanted version of the existing font)?
  • Will you support extensions aiming at improving the BBeB format for particular needs?
  • Of the supported e-book file formats, which can be used natively (i.e, copy file to memory stick, insert memory stick, file works) and which require desktop conversion?
  • Will DRM content be portable (transfer from one device to the other – from one device generation to the next)?
  • Can you tell us a bit more about supported DRM “features”? (How many copies, how many devices, any time restrictions, etc.)
  • Of those “features”, which are most commonly used by your major publishers? (Our readers hope not to have to deal with time-expiring content)
  • Is PDF content supported if protected with DRM?
  • Are there any restrictions on feed content supported? (e.g. RSS, RSS 2.0, Atom 1.0, full-entry vs. summary)

[edit] Sony Connect Store

  • What incentives do you plan on introducing to offset the expense of the Reader device? (a general 20% discount on e-books may not be enough to lure potential buyers)
  • Will it support subscription content (such as magazines and newspapers)?
  • Will or could it offer non-DRM content for publishers who wish to do so (Baen, O'Reilly, and the NAP take that position)?
  • Will you sell server-side conversion tools? If yes, when will they become available and at what price?
  • Will I be able to sell content on the Sony Connect Store? And if yes, is it mostly a matter of contract negotiations, or is it an expensive and difficult technical proposition?
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