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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:

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:

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)

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Comments May 7, 2010 um 7:24 am

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.

Nate the great May 7, 2010 um 7:41 am

1200 DeutschMarks?!?

No wonder it failed.

Kodansha to offer first Japanese language ebook | The Digital Reader May 21, 2010 um 10:17 am

[…] think they made a mistake here. Sony has sold the Libre (and before that, the Data Discman) in Japan. Surely some literary titles have been released for one device or the […]

Juan March 10, 2013 um 9:11 am

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.

Medium Over Message: A CD-ROM Multimedia Bubble Survivor’s Tale | Hackaday November 15, 2016 um 1:01 pm

[…] In my final year at university, I saw the future. On a friend’s desk in his dorm room was his computer, and it wasn’t anything like the machines the rest of us had. It was a Commodore CDTV, something like an Amiga 500 with a caddy-loading CD-ROM drive all dressed up to look like a piece of hi-fi. This was one of several products from large manufacturers trying to bring the new technology to market in a proprietary format, other notables included the Philips CDi and the Sony Data Discman. […]

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