Turn the page: handheld book reader on the horizon

Turn the page: handheld book reader on the horizon

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That nifty text-reading device that made its debut at CES will be ready to ship in a few weeks. It’s the Sony Reader, and you can get it at Borders bookstores and a handful of websites this summer.

Unlike previous devices, this one is hi-res (SVGA 800×600) and looks very much like a book. (It even has a cover that looks like a book!) The screen flickering is so minimal that you won’t hardly notice it. It supports multiple electronic file formats, including PDF, BBeB, and MP3. You can even see JPEGs on it, meaning that books with illustrations can be enjoyed on the Sony Reader nearly as well as they can in your own hands. Best of all, you can change the type size.

So it’s hi-res, but how big and heavy is it? Well, it will fit in the palm of your hand. It’s 6.9″ tall and 4.9″ wide. It’s a half inch thick and weighs about 9 ounces. And you’ll be able to read a large number of books before changing the battery. The device consumes power only when you turn a page, and you can recharge the battery by either AC adapter or a USB cord connected to a computer.

Memory? It has memory, 64MB of it, to be exact. You can use Memory Sticks or SD flash cards. Depending on the size of the books, you can store conceivably hundreds of them without having to delete anything.

Now, where to get one. Well, Borders will be selling them, of course, as will Sony Style Stores. You can also buy the handy little readers on SonyStyle.com and Connect.com. Initial pricing is projected to be anywhere from US$299 to US$399.

P.S.: Bonus points if you can guess what book is on the screen above.

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