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Sony to launch e-readers in Japan

Nov 25 2010 12:46 AFP

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Tokyo -Sony, battling Amazon and Apple in the electronic book reader race, said on Thursday it would launch its latest devices in Japan in December along with a dedicated virtual library.

The move will mark a return to Japan for the electronic giant's e-reader business since it left the market in 2007 after seeing low demand at a time when Japanese consumers were focused on mobile phone books.

The success of Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle has however sent electronics makers scrambling to gain a slice of the growing tablet computer and e-reader market.

Sony has cut the size and weight of its e-readers while expanding the use of touch technology to all models - allowing users to turn pages with a swipe of the finger like the Apple iPad.

Unlike the colour iPad, the Sony Reader uses black-and-white e-ink technology.

Its two models, Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition will be available December 10 in about 300 Japanese stores, selling for ¥20 000 and ¥25 000 ($240 and $300).

Sony will also open a digital bookstore for the device in Japan as it has elsewhere, offering downloads of around 20 000 titles.

The group hopes to sell 300 000 e-readers in Japan in the first year and expects a 50% market share by 2012, the company said.

It also recently created a joint venture with Japan's second-largest telecommunications operator KDDI, the Asahi newspaper group and printing technology firm Toppan to offer services for a variety of devices.

Sony unveiled the latest devices in September and expanded their availability to Australia, China, Italy, and Spain as well as the United States.

sony  |  e-readers

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