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Sony looks to revamp Reader range

Sony has plans to fight back against the popularity of Amazon's Kindle eReader range with a line of upgraded devices to launch as early as next month.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg, Sony's Phil Lubell - vice president in charge of digital reading at the electronics giant - confirmed that a range of hardware and software improvements are due.

The move can't come soon enough: despite being one of the pioneers of the concept of eReaders with sunlight-readable electrophoretic displays, Sony has seen its market share crumble as consumers flock to rival devices like Amazon's Internet-connected Kindle.

The introduction of touch-screen functionality, which should have helped drive sales of Sony's eReaders, caused more harm than good when buyers found the touch-sensitive film making the display harder to read than on previous button-based editions.

The move comes as Sony plans to launch a pair of Android-based tablets, the S1 and S2. Should Lubell's comments prove true, that will give Sony a chance at both ends of the market: the eReader will target consumers on a budget or those who spend the majority of their time reading, while the tablets will offer full Internet access and video support on a colour display.

So far, Sony hasn't detailed exactly what its revamped Readers will offer, but integrated Internet - like the Kindle - will almost certainly make an appearance.

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