Sony Reader Update #2

Looks like it’s been posted: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2392115,00.asp

Let’s recap my prediction:

So, here’s my prediction: in the next 2-3 weeks Sony will announce a new ebook reader. It will be touch screen. It will be a pearl e-ink display. And it will retail for under $180.

Well I called it, though I was two months early. I forgot about the WiFi though :) .  Now that I’ve taken a better look at it though I’ve noticed something. It’s priced too high still.  The other readers are in a race to the bottom, and I’m afraid that ebook readers are not a must have gadget.  Which means that people will buy the cheapest one, not the best quality one.  They’ve done a good thing by lightening it up (plastic chassis), but they also need to lighten the price more.  I know I predicted $180 and it came in at $150, but now that Amazon is looking like they’ll bring out a new Kindle in time for Christmas, Sony needs to win the price war.

A $109 price point would pretty much kick out the rest of the competition.

That being said, I think that Sony’s focus on libraries is going to be a major point in their favour.

New Sony Reader?

So I just realized today that both Kobo and Nook have new editions out.  And Kobo’s is selling for $139.  Looks like the Kindle 3 is almost to its one year milestone, and Kindle now has a new ad-supported version (not touching that one with a ten foot pole). Well, as I love my Sony I figured that I’d go take a look at their current offerings.  And low and behold the touch edition: sold out, pocket edition: sold out.  In fact only the daily edition is left.  So I checked around, looks like the Sony is on a major sale down at Amazon… I sense a theme developing here.  They’re clearing out the models.  Which hints at one thing. Last year (around November I think) Sony inked a deal for an exclusive contract for new e-ink displays. Putting these together I think we have a new model coming out soon.  And I think it’s going to be competitive with the Kobo. So, here’s my prediction: in the next 2-3 weeks Sony will announce a new ebook reader.  It will be touch screen.  It will be a pearl e-ink display.  And it will retail for under $180. If they’re smart they’ll peg it at $139.  If they’re stupid they’ll peg it at $199. They will also have a smaller version, an updated pocket edition, which will retail for $99.  It won’t have touch screen, but it will have a pearl e-ink display.

YouTube – Project Natal

 

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Huh, looks like that video might work.

 

Another E3 has come and gone.

 

Nintendo had some reasonable announcements, nothing amazing, but bringing Mario back in a host of titles.

Sony on the other hand had almost nothing. Well, not quite nothing. They had one release that I am dying to play. The Last Guardian, by the same people who made Shadow of the Colossus. For anyone who isn’t into that kind of thing, Shadow of the Colossus is one of the 10 most beautiful games ever made, and in my top five games ever played. It isn’t just a video game, it’s a piece of art. And yes, the Last Guardian has continued that.

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You can see it in better resolution over at http://ps3.ign.com/dor/objects/14230646/ico-project/videos/thelastguardian_trl_trailer_60209.html

I want this game. It looks amazing. That being said, with the exception this game nothing else at E3 was that amazing coming from Sony. I suspect that the PS3 may be in danger of dying out because of lack of innovation, which is sad because it’s my favourite console.

Microsoft however has not stopped moving forward. They have shown the next step in video games. Nintendo got the first step with the Wii, but now Microsoft is trying to move beyond that with their Project Natal (video at the top). Essentially they took the next logical step beyond the Wii, what if you didn’t need a controller? Project Natal is all about movement mapping and voice recognition. fighting games or sports games that map your motion, skate boarding games where it will scan in your deck so you can play on your own board, and controllerless menus.

This of course brings in a new revenue stream with custom controllers. Sure you don’t need one for tennis, or golf, or driving a car, but as the Wii has shown, people will buy cheap plastic add-ons anyway. But more importantly they will be able to redesign their controllers in a new way. No longer will it be the two sticks for movement and view control and a few buttons for specified things, they will be able to get creative with their controller (granted, this is Xbox so I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out with a large brick for a controller). And who isn’t looking forward to the gun shaped Halo 4 controller?

Project Natal probably isn’t as accurate yet as they make it out to be, but still, this is the next step in video games.

It’s also the next step in home entertainment. Microsoft seems to be continuing their campaign of making the Xbox do everything under the sun. I wouldn’t be surprised if soon it will do the dishes, or laundry, or rent videos (oh wait, it already does that one). Sony is falling behind here. They need to get Netflix or something similar on their console or they will be left behind as “Just a gaming machine”. I’m sure it’s all right to be “Just a gaming machine”, but that’s not where the money is going to be.

I want a PS3, but the way things are going, I’ll probably end up buying an Xbox.

Cool new tech

There are currently some very cool technologies out there. When I was young we had a computer without a hard drive.  You put the OS disk in one drive (the big floppy disks) and the program disk in the other drive.  The only way you had a colour screen was if it was green and black, or orange and black, instead of white and black.  Colour monitors were cool.  CD-Roms were even cooler.  And I remember when we bought a second hard drive and it pushed us up to over 100 mb.  And of course the move to four mb of ram from our previous two. We got a modem and that was cool.  I could play on the local BBS’s.  Then came the Internet.  I got my first e-mail address back when Hotmail was not owned by Microsoft.  I learned about HTML and made some crappy web pages.  Then I learned more and made better ones.  Then I learned about CSS and XHTML and made even better ones.  And finally I learned about WordPress and for the first time ever I started using an editor other than Notepad. I now sit here in my room, writing on my laptop.  My laptop which is more advanced than I could ever imagine when I was young. But what is coming is the stuff of science fiction.  Everyone’s heard of the Microsoft Surface by now if you haven’t click HERE.  It will likely have very little use beyond casinos, but that’s not the important point.  The important part is what they’re promising:

  1. a multi-touch screen that’s bigger than a handheld
  2. another commercial use for multi-touch technology
  3. fast and easy wireless connectivity

But there’s other up and coming technology that’s going to be important.  Projected multi-touch is going to be very cool, along with the new multi-projectors.  Imagine sitting down to a desk, and having a screen projected both onto the wall in front of you, and also onto the desk in front of you.  You reach up and move things around the “screen” by touching it on your desk with your hand and dragging.  Whatever you do on the “screen” on the desk happens on the “screen” on the wall.  You open up a word processor and a keyboard appears on your desk but not on the wall. In Japan laptop sales are being impacted by cellphones.  Cellphones can be used as a web browser, for e-mail, for word processing, music, and who knows what’s next.  There’s a new product nearly on the market, the cellphone projector.  There are already ones with very few colours designed to be part of the cellphone, but there are also full colour projectors that are external, but are the same size as a phone.  Perhaps in a few years having movies on a cell phone won’t seem like a useless undertaking. Now imagine the multi-touch multi-projector I discussed earlier mixed with the cellphone projectors.  Imagine taking out your cellphone, putting it on the desk and having your computer appear. The future is coming, and it looks cool.