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Sony Revamps E-Book Reader, But No Wireless

Battery life for the PRS-700 device is the same as the older model, sustaining up to 7,500 pages of continuous reading on a single charge.

The latest model of the Sony Reader will cost $100 more than older model, but include software and hardware enhancements.

Sony Reader Digital Book
(click for larger image)

Sony on Friday launched a new version of its e-book Reader, adding interactive features to the electronic book that include letting users flip pages with the swipe of a finger.

The PRS-700 has the same dimensions as the older PRS-505. Both are about the size of a slimmed-down paperback book and weigh about 10 ounces. The latest model, however, brings a number of interactive features to the touch screen and hardware changes that Sony hopes consumers will be willing to spend an additional $100 for.

The PRS-700 has a 6-inch display that enables users to flip pages with the slide of a finger or zoom in to text by tapping the screen. In addition, Sony has added an on-screen electronic keyboard for creating notes. Other features include the ability to search terms within a document or book and highlight text with the Reader's stylus pen.

Sony and rival Amazon.com, which sells the Kindle, use the same display technology from E Ink. The screens provide crisp text and are highly readable, even in sunlight. Sony has added to the latest model a built-in LED reading light for times when ambient light is dim.

The PRS-700 also has more memory than the previous version and is capable of storing about 350 average size digital books. The device also supports external SD memory cards for additional storage.

Battery life for the latest device is the same as the older model, sustaining up to 7,500 pages of continuous reading on a single charge. Both support multiple file formats, such as Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, and BBeB files.

A key difference between the Reader and Kindle is in how books can be purchased for the devices. Sony requires content to be bought on a PC and transferred to the Reader through a wired connection. The Kindle, however, ships with a cellular connection that also enables users to buy and download books directly from Amazon. The wireless connection is offered at no additional charge. The Kindle also costs about $40 less than the latest Sony device.

The latest Reader is scheduled to be available for about $400 next month. Sony plans to continue selling the PRS-505. Both will be available in the United States through Sony's online store and retail stores.

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