Who Will Pay $179 for a Tethered Sony Ebook Reader?

Sony essentially created the modern ebook reader device market. While it was never huge, Sony’s ereaders had enough of a customer base to keep it going since September 2006. However, Sony’s current ebook reader device strategy has me puzzled.

While other ebook reader makers have dropped prices below $150 (below $100 in one case) and provided wireless ebook buying, Sony’s least expensive unit $179 and must be tethered to a computer. The higher price gets you a touch screen interface. But, I’m not sure that is enough of a selling point for a narrow use device (vs. a general purpose tablet like the iPad).

Sony offers a non-touch ebook reader with both 3G and WiFi. However, it will set you back $299. I think the WiFi-only 16GB iPad for $499 starts to look pretty good in comparison at the price point. And, besides, even game console powerhouse Sony doesn’t provide “Angry Birds” to play on their ebook reader.

My Kindle 3 finally shipped this week. With the ability read ebooks on my Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Android phones, and any other platform Amazon provides a Kindle app for, I’m not in the ebook reader device market anymore. I suspect a lot of other people have a similar perspective.

Sony offers new generation of lighter e-readers (Reuters)

Sony’s latest e-readers: Understanding the trade-offs and global strategy (ZDNet)