Sony’s 13.3″ E Ink PDF Reader Gets a Release Date in Japan, and a Hefty Price Tag

Digital paper DPT-S1

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Sony’s new large-screen PDF reader ever since the prototype first showed up online in videos and at press events.

What makes it so compelling is the large 13.3-inch A4-size screen that Sony and E Ink worked together to build. The new screen tech is called Mobius, and unlike current ebook readers on the market, it uses a plastic substrate instead of glass, which makes the product much lighter and more durable.

Today Sony Japan published a press release with some new information about the device. Unfortunately the details are going to squash the dreams of many. But things can change; let’s hope that they do. The translation from Japanese to English reads very awkwardly, so keep in mind some of the finer details are hard to grasp.

The good news is Sony looks to be on track to start selling their new large-screen ereader. It now has a name, Digital paper “DPT-S1″. It also has a release date of December 3rd, 2013, exclusively in Japan. The bad news is Sony appears to be focusing entirely on the business and education market.

That means it’s going to be expensive. Really expensive. The press release mentions 98,000 yen as an estimated market price, which equates to about $1000 US. They also mention price depends on a number of factors and services provided, so it’s hard to say if that would be close to the actual price if it were ever made into a consumer product.

Right now it sounds like Sony has no interest selling it as such, so unless you are the head of some university or business in Japan looking for a PDF reader to replace paper usage, this announcement and device isn’t going to mean much at this stage in the game. But at least it’s progress, right? Maybe some day a large-screen epaper ereader will become available to the masses.

Main specifications for Digital paper “DPT-S1″:

  • 13.3-inch flexible electronic paper display (resolution 1200 × 1600 pixels) with 16-level gray scale.
  • Electromagnetic touchscreen with stylus input.
  • 4GB internal memory; 2.8GB usable.
  • MicroSD card slot.
  • Micro USB port.
  • Supported formats: PDF.
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 2.4GHz band.
  • Lithium-ion battery.
  • Battery Life: 2-3 weeks; 24k page-turns.
  • Dimensions: About 233 x 310 x 6.8 mm.
  • Weight: About 358 grams.

via: MobileRead

9 Responses to “Sony’s 13.3″ E Ink PDF Reader Gets a Release Date in Japan, and a Hefty Price Tag”

  1. I know nothing about how these things are made or the cost to produce something like this but $1000 sounds awfully expensive. It only has 4GB of memory and you can only read PDFs. Strange.

  2. Low volume production (they’ll be lucky to hit 5 figures) and the digitizer will Jack up the price.
    In the Japanese business document market they’re going after, $1000 is actually cheap. Ricoh and Brother, among others, have had products running closer to $2000 than $1000.
    This is not now nor will it ever be a consumer product. It’s the chicken-and-egg thing: demand is too low for a better price and without better pricing they can’t sell enough to justify a lower price.

  3. I don’t know if there was “hype” around this device…Sony didn’t exactly push it hard. There was a buzz about it, but that came from us potential buyers.

  4. I would not give up hope yet. If this gets any kind of traction then cost will decrease and volume will improve. Don’t balk at $1,000. Remember Los Angeles Unified School District is going to spend over US$1 Billion to provide its students with iPads. This would actually be a better device since it’s tailored to the education market and thus hopefully less prone to theft and repurposing.

  5. Awesome — Glad Sony is releasing this!! Yes — $1K is way too much for consumers — but it should do well in the business world, especially if in a year or two when the technology matures and it gets less expensive — then I could easily see it dropping below the $500 mark — and then hopefully lower. As a consumer I would easily pay $300 for one of these. So guess I will have to wait. :-(

  6. If you look at the components alone, the price is (for low volume production) somehow reasonable. I am currently on a indiegogo campaign (search for “RockThEInk”), where they offer a e-ink reader SDK. There is an optional 13.3 panel. The panel alone costs about 500 USD. When you take the hardware & development costs and other overhead in account, you get the price SONY demands. Clearly it is not a consumer device. Still, I am really considering getting one. :-)

  7. I am surprised that they are only considering having pdf as a supported format. Pricewise, featurewise, it seems like they are not making any effort to make this an attractive launch.

  8. Finally what I was searching for!
    An E-Ink screen of the right dimensions and capabilities to read scientific articles!
    I can’t wait for it.

  9. this is exactly what I need! praying everyday to see it in Europe soon…