Sony fights Kindle with $400 high end wireless reader

Electronics giant Sony took on Kindle today by revealing a wireless e-reader it will release later this year.

The Reader Daily Edition is a 3G touch screen device that will cost $400.

The Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition are available immediately. The Pocket Edition has a five inch electronic paper display and costs $199, while the Touch Edition has a six inch touch screen panel and costs $299, coming in red, black or silver.

The Daily Edition gives people wireless access to Sony’s eBook store from anywhere in the US. This is a seven inch touch screen display and displays around 30-35 lines of text in portrait mode. It has a contrast ratio of 16 levels of grayscale, is built using aluminum and has enough memory to hold 1,000 standard eBooks and expansion slots for memory cards.

Now here’s the rub. There are over a million free public domain books available from Google, but New York Times bestseller titles cost $10. The question is whether you want a real book in your hand or a digital book.

Sony also introduced the Library Finder application which lets you download books with a valid library card to your PC which are then transferred to your reader. At the end of the library period, the books just expire.

Sony is selling the products through a number of outlets including Toys’r’Us, Wal-Mart, Staples, and Best Buy.