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Sony unveils 7-inch wireless reader with touch screen

August 25, 2009 |  8:00 am

Sony Daily Edition

Sony's Daily Edition digital book reader boasts a 7-inch screen and wireless downloading. Credit: Sony

Sony this morning unveiled its answer to the Kindle 2 -- a wireless electronic book reader with a 7-inch touch screen that's 17% larger than Amazon's device.

Up until now, Kindle has claimed an edge over Sony's Readers by having built-in wireless connectivity, which lets users browse, buy and download books from Amazon's online store without having to plug into a computer. The Kindle also obviates the need for an Internet connection by using Sprint's wireless broadband EVDO network. 

Sony hopes its new wireless device, dubbed the Daily Edition, will trump Kindle 2 in one key respect, namely the ability for users to turn pages, scribble notes and navigate through menus by way of a touch screen. The device's 7-inch black-and-white display is larger than the Kindle 2's 6-inch screen but smaller than the Kindle DX, whose screen is 9.7 inches.

The Daily Edition, priced at $399, is slated to ship in December, in time to take advantage of the holiday gift-giving season.

The Japanese consumer electronics company also announced a "pocket-sized" reader ...

Sony Readers

Sony's line of digital readers include, from left to right, the Pocket Edition, the Touch Edition and the Daily Edition. Credit: Sony

... earlier this month. At $199, the Pocket Edition will be the lowest priced on the market when it ships at the end of the month. Amazon's Kindle 2 is $299, and its DX costs $489. 

Sony's Readers have another feature that's not present in the Kindle: All of the devices are capable of displaying digital books that have been borrowed from thousands of public libraries that lend electronic books. The Daily Edition goes one step further by finding local libraries with a digital-books collection and letting users wirelessly download the book for 21 days (provided they have a library card for that particular branch).

"We continue to add more value every day for folks who have a Sony Reader," said Steve Haber, head of Sony's digital-books business.

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.

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