Difference Between Kindle and Sony Reader (With Table)

eReaders are successful new gadgets and it is one of the rare ones that indirectly are environmentally friendly. Even though eReaders haven’t completely replaced physical books, they are a step in the right direction. Two popular eReaders are Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader.

Kindle vs Sony Reader

The difference between Kindle and Sony Reader is that kindle has a dedicated keyboard incorporated in it whereas Sony Reader has a more modern touch-screen display. Even though the two products are used for the same purpose, there are many differences in terms of design, compatibility, connectivity, etc.

Kindle is a series of eReaders introduced by Amazon. Kindle is connected to Amazon with the support of their Whispernet Infrastructure. This allows Kindle to wirelessly connect to the Amazon store. As a result, a user doesn’t need a PC to install ebooks on their device.

Sony Reader was a series of eReaders manufactured by Sony. Sony offered a touch-screen display and dedicated support for PDF files, which is still the most common format for ebooks. Sony Readers are compatible with Windows and Mac OS. However, these readers do not offer wireless connectivity.

Comparison Table Between Kindle and Sony Reader

Parameters of ComparisonKindleSony Reader
AvailabilityFuture-proof devices are available.Stop manufacturing the devices in 2014 and the old devices are not future-proof.
Operating SystemKindle firmware.Android, Windows, Mac OS X.
DisplayE-ink passive display in all devices.E-ink active touch-screen displays.
Connectivity Wireless Connectivity. Wired connection using USB 2.0 cables.
Controller InputD-pad, keyboard, or touch-screen depending on the generation.Touch-screen functionality in all generations.

What is Kindle?

Kindle is also known as Amazon Kindle. Kindle was introduced by Amazon in 2007 as its first eReader device. The product immediately gained popularity and the initial stock was sold out on its first day. Since 2007, there have been 10 generations of kindle eReaders. The first generation of Kindle was released in the US only. As the first product was hugely popular, it was made international for further versions.

Amazon Kindle is known for its independent nature. It has a completely wireless network connectivity support with high speeds so it can be connected to Amazon Store via the Whispernet Infrastructure. Hence, the user doesn’t need computer connectivity to run eBooks on their Kindle devices. This is the standout feature of Amazon Kindle.

One area where only a few Kindle devices lack behind is the lack of support for PDF files. Since almost all ebooks are of PDF file format, they need to be converted into a kindle compatible file format before they can be used.

Since the kindle devices are hugely popular, there are various accessories officially available by Amazon including cases for protection, Audio Adapter for users to vocally navigate the interface and listen to ebooks, and a wireless charging dock for the latest kindle devices.

What is Sony Reader?

Sony Reader was a series of eReader devices manufactured by Sony. Sony’s first Reader device was launched in 2004 and became popular in very little time. These eReaders were compatible with almost all file formats. Sony Readers also allowed users to open images and perform as an audio player via headphones as well. These devices could be used in both portrait and landscape mode.

Sony Readers’ main selling point was their compatibility with systems. There were compatible with almost all operating systems including Windows, Android, Apple’s Mac OS X, and even Linux. As the connection was wired, the data transfer speeds were excellent as well. These devices offered active touch-screen displays which were best in class.

One area where Sony Readers lacked behind was that the user couldn’t access ebooks independent of the computer. Since Sony Readers were not wireless, PCs were needed to transfer ebooks to the device’s storage. As the latest model of Sony Reader came out back in 2013, it is not compatible with many latest generation computers.

With the rising competition from other companies like Amazon, Sony discontinued the production of its eReaders lineup in 2014. However, it continued to sell out its remaining stock of devices to customers.

Main Differences Between Kindle and Sony Reader

  1. Kindle offers true wireless connectivity whereas Sony Reader allows only wired connectivity
  2. Kindle devices come with passive displays whereas Sony Readers have active displays.
  3. Some Kindle devices lack PDF support whereas all Sony Readers are PDF compatible.
  4. Kindle devices are independent of PCs for eBooks whereas Sony Readers are dependent on PCs.
  5. Kindle devices are future proof whereas Sony discontinued manufacturing new generations of eReaders.

Conclusion

eReaders have been a partial replacement for books but they are a step in the right direction as they are environmentally friendly. Some brands provide eReaders including Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble, etc. However, Amazon’s Kindle devices dominate the eReaders market.

When Sony Reader was launched in 2004, it was a new gadget back then. It attracted customers and started the trend of digital reading. As the trend emerged, many brands also started investing in this business. After 2010, Kindle devices simply dominated the eReader products and they became so appealing to customers that they overpowered other brands including Sony. Sony stopped the production of eReaders in 2014 but the devices still are compatible with most computers and not useless. A user can still use it for what it was made for in the first place. Reading ebooks, minimal media consumption, etc. still work but the device feels slow compared to the latest technology.

Amazon, on the other hand, took every step in the right direction. They introduced the features that customers demanded. Wireless connectivity made the Kindle devices more convenient, the independence on computers is the charm of the products. Kindle devices are the top-rated and best-selling eReaders in today’s market. Sony Readers, however, will not have much future compatibility.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02763877.2011.529401
  2. https://aip.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1063/1.5005393

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