In 2006 Sony announced a new electronic book reader that promised to make
paperbacks obsolete. It's a PDA looking device that displays electronic
books and plays mp3s. Of course you can already read electronic books on a
PDA or laptop but few actually do. No matter how
hi-high/environmentally-friendly it is, I doubt many consumers will make the
switch. Sony should
already know this though; in the early 90s they
tried a similar project with disappointing results.
ago I worked at an Electronics Boutique (now EBGames/GameStop) that was an
outlet location for the company
. One day we received several Sony
Data Discman Electronic Book Player DD-1EX
s that we were supposed to
clear out. The original sticker price was in the $200-$250 range but they
were marked down to 10% of that. Largely out of curiosity I picked one up
along with whatever software we had for it (also at a massive
discount). I can't say I've used it for more than an hour. It's a very nice
device that serves no practical or entertainment function whatsoever. See
Disclaimer: I don't have a particularly great digital camera and I suck at taking pictures.
Sony didn't nickel-and-dime consumers on accessories here. The package
came with: the reader (duh), AC adaptor, rechargeable battery, and
another battery pack that holds AAs.
The reader itself is fairly nice looking. It feels like a miniature
laptop. It's a tad on the heavy side but also feels extremely
durable. Looking at all the buttons and size of the screen makes me
think this had a lot of potential beyond just electronic books. However,
it lacks any mechanism to save data. In the early 90s it's not like
SD-RAM cards were available. Miniature hard drive? Forget it. It has 90%
of what it needs to be a PDA but the technology just wasn't there to get
the last 10% in.
There's a QWERTY keyboard because all of the books are searchable.
The directional pad is there to navigate through menus. Looking at it
again just makes me irritated that I don't have any games for this (of
course I doubt any were made). This would make a cool little text
The front controls are your basic CD controls. There's also a volume
wheel and headphone jack (not pictured). Although I don't know this for
a fact, I assume this must have some audio playback feature. There's no
other purpose for these controls (other than using the play & stop
buttons as on/off switches).
The electronic books are 3.5" CDs in a caddy. The player opens up
to insert them.
I picked up every electronic book we had in stock, no idea if more were
The player has an output jack than can be connected to anything with an A/V
input (well, just the "V" part is needed). These screenshots
are from the A/V out.
The splash screen reminding you that this is for private use only. I
guess I'm technically violating that, whatever.
Although I don't know the exact date this electronic book reader was
produced, the bundled encyclopedia gives some hints. It still lists
U.S.S.R. as a country so it had to be authored prior to Christmas day
1991. My memory is kinda fuzzy but I believe we received these at Electronics
in 1993, maybe late 1992.
According to the career encyclopedia I'm horribly overpaid.
Thinking of traveling the world? Well, this handy translator is all you
need. Someone once told me that if you ever got lost in a strange
foreign country you should claim to be a Swedish citizen. Something
about Sweden having an embassy in every country and nobody holding a
grudge against them. I couldn't find a translation for "I'm a
Swedish citizen please don't turn me over to the secret police"
in this guide. Guess that trip to Pyongyang is off.
The least useful book (to me at least) is the crossword dictionary. You
can search for word endings or a list of complete words but that's
The wellness encyclopedia is the perfect gift for a hypochondriac.
Since I won't pay more than $3.99 for a bottle of wine I found this
guide relatively useless. Speaking of which, I think I'll wrap this up
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Unless otherwise noted, all content is copyright (c) 2006 Hugues Johnson and may not be redistributed in any form without express permission.