The Failure: Sony’s new PRS-T2

An upgrade?

Disappointment. That is the first adjective I would use to describe how I feel about the new Sony PRS-T2 eReader. Someone at Sony must have forgotten to mention that when companies release an upgraded device, they are actually supposed to upgrade more than just the material of the outer casing. Sony’s latest offering (if you could call it that) does almost nothing to improve on the PRS-T1. They have actually removed a major feature, audio, and given us nothing appealing in its place. There is no 1024 x 768 HD E Ink screen, no text rendering software advances, and no major firmware upgrades. They have increased the social reading aspects of the device by tying it in to Facebook, and you can now save blog posts and web articles to an Evernote account and read them on your PRS-T2, but other than that, we are losing more than we are gaining. I don’t even really see these features as a positive improvement. There are dozens of ways to save web articles to read on eReaders, and the Facebook feature is immensely overrated. On top of all this, they even reduced the number of preloaded dictionaries from twelve to six!

So just to review, we are:

  • losing audio capabilities, no headphone jack
  • getting no advances in fonts, formatting, or text rendering
  • removing half of the dictionaries
  • being charged $129, the same cost as the old PRS-T1

When a no-frills upgrade like this comes out, I usually blame the lack of improved features on the price war between all of the big eReader companies. It is hard to offer amazing specs at $80-$100 a reader. But Sony is willing to charge us more. They put a $129 (more like $150 after taxes and shipping) price tag on a “new” eReader that blatantly does nothing extra for the cost. Sony offers us absolutely nothing in the way of technological innovation in exchange. I think I am not even going to bother reviewing this device. I don’t want Sony to get the wrong impression from my purchase. The best thing the eReading community can do is punish those companies who fail to meet market expectations is send a message with our closed wallets.

Sony PRS-T2 Hyperbole aside: Kevin C. Tofel at Gigaom wrote one of the most uninformed posts on the new PRS-T2 I have seen. Listen to this:

Sony’s newest e-reader, the Reader PRS-T2, may appeal mainly due to the $129 price tag. But the ability to share passages on Facebook and integration with Evernote make it even better . . .

Sony is striking back at Amazon’s Kindle with an updated Reader device . . .

Really? The $129 price tag is something that makes it stand out in a positive way? Does this writer even know what eReaders are priced at these days? I definitely wouldn’t say Sony is doing much “striking” at all with this hollow release.

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