Sony eBook reader on sale tomorrow

Out tomorrow: Sony's Reader
Out tomorrow: Sony's Reader

Sony's PRS-505 Reader goes on sale in the UK tomorrow, steering, the company hopes, a move forward for book lovers everywhere.

READ: Hands on: Sony Reader. Can eBooks really conquer the world?

Saying the gadget will "revolutionise reading", Sony's spokesman declared: "What the Walkman did for music on the move, the Reader is about to do for books."

The 260g doohickey is based on the much-hyped eInk technology, which is a type of electronic paper involving tiny, charged microcapsules suspended in fluid.

The science bit

With some particles within the microcapsules coloured black, and others coloured white, changing the polarity of the electrical field within the fluid moves the particles to the top or bottom of the microcapsule (still with us here?) to change which colour is visible to the person reading.

So basically, the magnetic field either makes words appear or disappear depending on which way the colour flips. Clever, and also battery-saving, because the e-book only uses up battery power when the "page turns" (ie when the picture changes, and the particles move).

As a result, Sony says that the rechargeable battery can withstand 6,800 page turns per charge.

With a built-in memory capacity for 160 e-books off the bat, and the facility for 2GB or 8GB Memory Stick Duos, the Reader should have plenty of space for your favourite paperbacks. The 6-inch screen also boasts a viewing angle of "almost 180°".

Out tomorrow, the Reader will cost £200, which includes a bundled CD containing 100 "classic" (in other words, uncopyrighted) books. Read our initial thoughts.