Blast from the Past: Sony Data Discman

I just sold an ereader from my collection today.

If you know me from MobileRead, then you also know that I have a rather large collection of ereaders. As part of my collection, I have 5 of the Sony Data Discman. If you're wondering WTH I'm talking about, I don't blame you. I didn't know these devices existed until I happened to come across one on Ebay.

You might recall that before the Sony Reader PRS-500, Sony  also had an ereader called the Sony Librie. It was only sold in Japan, and it was a horrendous failure largely because Sony couldn't provide enough content (and wouldn't let you create your own). But the Librie isn't Sony's first ereader. That honor goes to the Data Discman.

Sony first released the Data Discman in Japan in the year 1990. They were later introduced into the USA in 1992 (and at least one model was sold in Europe). Several dozen different models were produced, and they were priced around $600 and up. Here's a picture of one of the first:

Blast from the Past: Sony Data Discman Blast from the Past e-Reading Hardware

The screen is monochrome, and rather low in resolution. As you cann see, there is a keyboard, d-pad, and several more buttons. Do you want to know what media it used (I hope you're sitting down)? CDs. Yes, the Sony Data Discman used a 3.5" CD. Here is a different shot of the same model:

Blast from the Past: Sony Data Discman Blast from the Past e-Reading Hardware

Earlier this week, I found someone who is still using his DD-20. At least, he was using it until it died a few months ago at the age of 18 (in gadget years, which is ~googol human years). I have one, and even though it's not fully functional, it works well enough that he can use it.

Wikipedia (Data Discman)

About Nate Hoffelder (9908 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Blast from the Past: Sony Data Discman

  1. Oh, I used to have one of those too! I so loved it, was to me like a tricorder back then 🙂

    Bought it for about 400DM which was 800DM below the original price of 1200DM. Well, the Display died eventually the christals leaked out. You could connect it to a TV via cable, but that wasn’t the same to me, finally dumped it.

  2. I’ve one Data Discman DD20 serial 21546 with 3 Discs: 1 Pocket Interpreter 5 lenguages and 2 dics of English Teacher Discs. Unit is in perfect function but screen is not well.

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