It looks like Sony is bailing on their E Ink reading devices once again. This time it’s their large business-oriented models that are getting axed.
The 10.3-inch Sony DPT-CP1 and 13.3-inch DPT-RP1 are no longer available to purchase new from Sony’s authorized retailers such as Amazon and B&H.
In fact B&H lists both models as discontinued.
Additionally, the main landing page for the Digital Paper devices has been removed from Sony’s website. Now it just directs to a page with a few accessories like covers and stylus tips, with no mention of the Digital Paper devices themselves. That is not a good sign.
Like earlier Sony Readers, Sony’s DPT devices had some of the nicest hardware designs in the industry (the best of any E Ink device I’ve reviewed), but I think their failure ultimately came down to a lack of software development. The fact that the DPT devices only supported PDF format was a problem from the beginning. Not having internet access and having to use an app to manage content was another hurdle that put a lot of people off.
Some might say that Sony could still release a newer model and that’s why the older models have disappeared, but I’m not that optimistic. If that were the case they wouldn’t have removed the description page for the Digital Paper devices from their website, even if there was a supply shortage. Furthermore, it doesn’t make sense to discontinue something before releasing a new model.
This is most likely the end of Sony making any kind of E Ink reading devices, which is a shame because they’ve always made some of the nicest devices in the industry, but they just don’t seem to be good at developing and maintaining the software side of things. It’s a shame to see them go, but Onyx’s devices have much better software anyway with a lot more features and less restrictions.
They never seemed committed. I had one, briefly. Their support, which is not very supportive generally and seemed outsourced at the time, had no idea about the device. Their Twitter account was rarely updated. Their software was patched only once, as I recall, and there never seemed to be any real response to feature requests from users.
Why they built it in the first place? I assume that development and production of such unit costs several millions of $. After that, dedicated team for support and software could do miracles.
I think they thought they were creating a corporate-government paper substitute, which they hoped would become the new standard. When that didn’t catch on, they made a half-assed attempt to market it as a consumer device (without changing the software). Shockingly, it didn’t catch on with consumers. It was expensive and its software didn’t meet consumers’ needs. Instead of listening to consumers and changing the software, they redesigned the hardware. When that didn’t work, they redesigned the hardware again. When that didn’t work, they dropped the product.
It’s painful watching Sony nowadays. I’m biased because I have family who used to work for them and I’ve used some great gear from them over the years, but when it comes to software in particular their idea of quality and customer support is embarrassing.
My parents bought a PRS-T1 e-reader – even today I think the hardware is pretty good. The OS though is so flaky and was never fixed; within a few years Sony closed their UK online book store; not long after they stopped updating the Mac software so you had to boot into older versions of OSX to transfer copy-protected books.
For all of Kobo’s faults, today my 2012 Kobo Glo is still supported and updated.
Again! Sony, you made the best hardware and the worst software. You can be the king of the market, but…
I wonder if this is a credible report, that a version 2 is on the way?
I doubt it’s anything more than a prototype. Sony partnered with E Ink to create a company to make eNotes a few years back. I would guess this is along those lines where they are making them for other companies to produce. Sony’s locked down PDF-only software is never going to take these types of products to the next level. Adding color isn’t going to solve any of the problems with Sony’s severely limited software.