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Sony to Ship the 13.3″ Mobius eReader in December, Will Cost $1,000

If you happenSony_Digitalpaper_DPT-S1_0 to have 98,000 yen lying around and have a hankering to buy one of the most expensive ereader on the market then I have some good news for you.

Sony is going to be shipping their 13.3″ E-ink writing slate next month in Japan. This device had originally been announced back in May, and it has spent the past 5 months in beta tests at several Japanese universities, collecting user feedback.

The DPT -S1, which in the past has been nicknamed the Mobius eReader, has a 13.3″ screen with a resolution of 1,200 × 1,600. It comes with a dual touchscreen (optical and active digitizer). One can operate this ereader either by touching it with your fingers or by using the included stylus.

According to the specs posted by Sony, it also has Wifi, a microSD card slot, 2.8GB of Flash storage, and weighs about 358 grams.


The DPT -S1 is equipped with an entirely new E-ink screen. The Mobius screen tech is the result of 3 plus years of screen tech research by Sony which resulted in a plastic-backed E-ink screen which was  flexible and more durable than most commercially available screens. From time to time Sony has dropped hints about the screen tech, even going so far as to show off a flexible color screen in 2011.

Sony had always conceived of this device as a writing slate for business professionals, and not an ereader. That explains the price and the stylus, and it also explains the format support. The DPT-S1 only supports PDF. It doesn’t even support Epub, much less Epub3 like Sony’s reading apps.

That’s going to radically limit the usefulness of the DPT -S1, IMO, and it doesn’t help that the 2.8GB of storage can hold 3 or 4 average sized PDFs.

Sony has further limited its usefulness by leaving out most apps and features. The DPT -S1 has a web browser but I don’t see any mention in Sony’s announcement of an email client or other useful apps which might have helped to justify the high price.

But on the plus side this writing slate also has support for an online backup of a user’s notes and annotations. There is also mentions of collaboration and conferencing features, but since I am using Google I am not sure how much detail is being translated properly.

found via MobileRead

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einker November 7, 2013 um 11:35 am

Maybe there could be a Reader version instead of the Writer version in the future. I could do without the stylus and the note taking if the price was about $500. I have plenty of PDFs and can make my own except an epub reader should be cheap and easy enough for Sony to include. The $1000 is just too much for my budget.

Jason January 27, 2014 um 10:32 am

The point of this is the ability to write on the eInk screen. There is almost nothing out there that can do this, other than the BoogieBoard RIP or Sync. The fact that this can allow you to view what you’ve written, share it wirelessly, and read PDFs are industry-smashingen new technologies. The fact that the screen is this big is just awesome.

I would pay $1,000 for this in a heartbeat…as I do handwritten notes and sketches in client meetings, and these files would be amazingly small. On my BoogieBoard RIP, a page is about 16k.

eInk is just tremendous in that there is no lag, small files, and hopefully it would be saved as an editable pdf, as the Boogie Board does.

Sign me up! I want I want!

Nmae November 7, 2013 um 11:50 am

Pretty lightweigt for its size. But $1000? That’s way too much for too little. 1200×1600 pixels would be appropriate for a 10 inch screen, calling the file format support pathetic would be almost too generous and where are audio, frontlight and Bluetooth? The ugly pen holder looks like an afterthought. A true productivity device with an EPD would really be great but unfortunately, it seems, nobody is making one. The EnerGenie ePP2 (does it still (or already) exist?) chose a good screen but also left other things to be desired. Furthermore, such a device must not coste more than $500 (absolute maximum). I wonder what rode Sony to ask for $1000. The only reason I can think of is that they’re not after private customers but public funds or similar.

Jason January 27, 2014 um 10:34 am

That pen holder is awesome! I imagine Steve Jobs would approve of it. A thing should be what it is…do you really want some form-fitted plastic pocket? This is zen.

charlie November 7, 2013 um 12:50 pm

are they fracking kidding?

GrumpyYoungMan November 7, 2013 um 2:36 pm

Having it be PDF only is completely baffling. A business & professional oriented e-reader would need to support MS Word and other Office documents to be taken seriously.

(Not that I’d turn one down if it showed up on my doorstep.)

Nate Hoffelder November 7, 2013 um 3:06 pm


Void November 7, 2013 um 3:01 pm

I was hoping this would be a serious device that would be good for dealing with academic papers and other letter size non-reflowable content. As usual, sony disappoints with a ridiculously speced, limited, stupidly expensive piece of equiment that ignores common sense and market reality.

Matt November 7, 2013 um 4:51 pm

It’s frustrating. I personally think these, not iPads, are the kinds of devices schools need. A large format e-reader that will provide more durability, battery life, and the ability to more quickly and easily update student texts.

Rege December 13, 2013 um 12:21 am

I can’t agree more. Very disappointing. I was looking forward to have a large PDF reader, plus read my office documents and books. And the price is outregious.

James November 7, 2013 um 4:07 pm

According to Sony’s website this has a micro-SD slot. Meaning near unlimited memory.

Nate Hoffelder November 7, 2013 um 4:14 pm

Yes, but this thing already costs a thousand dollars. Sony could have afforded to throw in 16GB or 32GB of storage.

Void November 7, 2013 um 5:36 pm

A thousand dollars for something that can only read PDFs is completely useless. Even if it could read all standard formats (epub, doc, docx, etc.) and edit formats too (doc, docx, etc.) it would STILL not be worth it for that price. If this had been released in the early days of e-readers, it would have been huge. Now? Now it is years behind the times and ludicrously overpriced.

The days of expensive e-paper are over. Until they have full color models that can compete directly with current tablet displays, e-paper is and will remain a low margin niche item for low priced, low power, long battery life devices. Sony got part of that, but missed the memo about the other part.

Greg Schofield November 17, 2013 um 5:28 pm


Jason January 27, 2014 um 10:36 am

It uses pdfs because it likely also saves written work in pdf. This format is exceptionally efficient. The point of this is to take your writing-on-printout work and digitize it. The focus on pdf is exactly spot on here…simpicity, lightweight, small memory requirements, fast. As close to paper as it can get is the point.

THIS IS NOT A LAPTOP OR A TABLET…this is a new market.

AlanW November 7, 2013 um 5:18 pm

If a large screen device is going to support one file format the obvious choice is PDF, and this could work if the PDF support is class-leading. The competition, though, are iPads and Android tablets not e-book readers. Sony claims PDF version 1.7 (ISO 32000-1:2008) support, and that is a start. It will also need features like real page numbers (not just number of pages since the start of the document) and good TOC navigation. If they had all this for about $400 there might be a market. At $1000 I don’t see how that can sell many.

O?uz November 7, 2013 um 6:22 pm

Why does Sony makes mistakes after mistakes? 1000$ ? Only Pdf?

Frog November 8, 2013 um 3:10 am

$500 would be a high price for a superb device. Sony has not even presented a good device.

Mobius Strip November 8, 2013 um 10:34 am

If they included audio syncing, it could replace my LiveScribe SmartPen. Taking notes with the audio synchronized to the writing, then being able to pull up academic papers and annotate them would be superb. Especially if the PDFs and annotations synced to the research library I have currently stored on my Mac.

for real November 8, 2013 um 10:24 pm

Why does Sony makes mistakes after mistakes? 1000$ ? Only Pdf?

answer: MONKIES MONKIES MONKIES!!! enough said

Apostrophe! » November 10, 2013 um 2:26 pm

[…] Which makes this 13.3 inch e-ink slate by Sony so frustrating. I think an iPad-sized e-reader with touchscreen and a stylus would be a great thing for the classroom. For $1,000, you could do a lot better. This only deals in PDFs, no other files, which is ridiculously limiting. Especially given the tiny storage capacity of 2.8GBs (I know it’s got an expandable SD drive, but for a thousand bucks you could toss a couple more GBs in there). […]

Greg Schofield November 12, 2013 um 5:59 am

Idiotic! $1,000, for what should sell in its millions at <$200, I would easily buy five as a researcher I need a number of things open at once. So I suspect do many others, and as for students a minimum of two is needed to be useful.

Sony, fire your accounts and use your brains, you could be the paper replacement technology for the next few years and at the right price have a lead that no-one could beat! Profoundly disappointed with such short-sighted pricing. I would have been prompting it like crazy at my university, but $1,000 all I can do is shrug my shoulders.

MarkB November 13, 2013 um 4:33 am

FYI: 2.8GB is MUCH more than 3-4 so called average sized PDF files. That is a ridiculous statement.

Also all file formats can easily be converted to PDF format. This reader is made for reviewing/reading and making notes and not for writing documents. This screen is by far that largest size e-reader available and would be extremely useful for technical items, datasheets, electronics, software, and textbooks as current e-readers are too small.

Nate Hoffelder November 13, 2013 um 10:37 am


For some reason I was thinking MB, not GB. Weird.

nskmda November 19, 2013 um 8:16 pm

that’s right. but the price tag… disappointing…
instead of being niche they could easily get the whole education industry going (i believe that’s a huuuuuge market).
but at this price… as it was said above – they’re probably f*** kidding us

and, btw, some PDFs have images and may weight easily 20Mb+. so, not so many books at once…

Jason January 27, 2014 um 10:38 am

Pdf notes saved on my BoogieBoard RIP come in around 16k. Really, really tiny file size.

MarkB November 13, 2013 um 4:46 am

Since there is no useful e-reader for technical documents (datasheets, software books, electronic books, textbooks, etc) they have a niche market if they get it out. Other e-readers are too small. I agree with many others however that $1,000 dollars is high. Yet like most technology it will come down over the next couple of years… perhaps there can be OS or firmware upgrades released also.

Rob November 13, 2013 um 2:04 pm

Indeed, the price will fall soon enough. I am excited to pick up a refurb Mobius this time next year for $199.

Earl, the "Back-Country E-ink Android Tablet", Now has a Flexible Mobius E-ink Screen – The Digital Reader November 14, 2013 um 5:20 pm

[…] This tablet is going to be the first to use a 6″ flexible E-ink screen based on E-ink’s recently announced Mobius screen tech. It uses a flexible plastic backplane just like the one found on Sony’s 13.3″ writing slate. […]

Symon November 16, 2013 um 6:01 am

I was hoping to use this as a sheet music stand – big enough to read and in sunlight too. For this to be useful it would need to run an app that would sort play lists and connect to a foot switch, just like my tablet does. I doubt it would do that. How about a platform such as Android or ISO, then it could do a lot of things.

mike rodent November 16, 2013 um 7:06 am

but but but!

OK $1000 is a lot for the consumer market… but not the corporate or even educational one.
The great thing is that the Eink company is still alive and R&Ding…
For those who don’t understand the issues, the issue is that of eyestrain. LCD or LED tablets may send people to Mars in a 5 years but they will always be bad for eyes when doing sustained reading.

Without this new product those like me who want eye-healthy ereaders would be stuck for many more years languishing with annoying 6″ screens.

With it there is the prospect, in the not too distant future, of prices dropping on this one, of Sony’s competitors starting to sniff out the market again…. and eventually of colour

So… hooray!

eru November 16, 2013 um 10:27 am

Did you look at Hanvon’s WISEreader E920 or, since you mention colour, C920? Not as large as Sony’s device but apparently already available and cheaper while you get the same resolution on a 9.7 inch screen.

nskmda November 19, 2013 um 8:18 pm

won’t fit Letter/A4-sized docs. =(
and LCD/LED battery life is a joke

mike rodent January 13, 2014 um 2:21 pm

hmmm… that Hanvon thing looks utter rubbish, if I may say so. The first e-ink colour attempts, like the general state of e-ink technology, appear utterly crap when set alongside modern touchscreens and processors. I don’t expect the Sony device to be particularly good or fast. I have a 9.7″ Pocketbook Pro (220 €) with a processor which seems to date from circa 1992, and a silly stylus. Its "white" is also pretty grey. But reading "landscape" I can just about read PDFs (under a bright light!)… The point is that this technology is not being abandoned, as I feared (Kindle: no 9.7″ paper white device planned it appears… etc.).

I’d give it about 5 years before decent devices, with paper white, and which can rival LED/LCD touchscreens, come out at a decent price with decent processors and a good OS (Linux). I repeat: it’s about eyestrain.

boris spaztic November 22, 2013 um 12:02 pm

that’s a lot of assumptions you have there mike. one could equally argue that the product may well be withdrawn in the event that it fails to capture the business market. moreover, this possibility may be more plausible taken that the mobius eReader is basically a one trick pony (pdf) and that tablets are cheaper and afford more options.

in order for it to be a viable alternative i would go so far as to suggest that it needs to halve its current asking price.

another idea November 17, 2013 um 8:27 am

I’m just going to duct tape two kindle dx devices together.

Greg Schofield November 17, 2013 um 5:26 pm

I am doing a PhD, $1,000 is half my budget — it is way too much, my income levels have nose dived to do this research. What Sony has not realised is the need right across society for an electronic replacement for paper now, but it has to be cheap, it has to be around normal eink device prices.

If it were they would have an edge no one could match at this time and open up an entirely different market. Consider all the forms people have sign, these devices could replace most if not all and also can be electronically processed. Sony fire your accountants and their silly strategy of recovering development costs in the first two years — it is a fatal stupidity. This is a plastic based device, once set up millions can be made, make those millions, flood the market around the world, this device is needed now — it is much more than a niche device.

Maybe November 17, 2013 um 10:16 pm

Maybe I have to say this is a stupid price.
So disappointed.

Bernhard November 18, 2013 um 1:02 pm

I was having high hopes for this device to replace my Kindle DX which is solid and durable yet a little too small and a big bit to slow for my big books, now sony declared this device a writing slate which hints that it also has its problems with big books and that it supports only pdf which is generally the biggest and most demanding format… so i guess im back to the kindle… btw i am quite heavy and accidentaly sat on the dx on more then one occasions so that the sony is also durable werether for what reason is really nothing special for me

boris spaztic November 20, 2013 um 3:35 pm

made to fail. look for a discontinued line sometime in the next 18months.

GH December 4, 2013 um 5:33 pm

Too bad. This was by far the most interesting electronic device ive seen in the last 5 years and got very disapointed now. I guess everyone feels the same way though so I hope the future generation will be half/priced and including epub or other formats. Has awesome potential, btw, just adding 3 colors would be sufficient for note taking. Would be awesome to make corrections in red, comments in blue and some other comments in green.

Amra December 4, 2013 um 11:37 pm

Where can i buy one?

kouser manzer December 7, 2013 um 8:38 am

Had been following this for a long time. Perfect for me to carry my project plans in the field. But price is too high. Was hoping for it to be $250 or less. Well, I will keep looking. Here I come GOOGLE.

Eric December 11, 2013 um 9:39 am

Keep up the good work Sony. This is just a stepping stone for things to come. A few of us actually understand that the $1000 price tag is a result of the fact that this product is new technology developed from prototype over several years of research and development.

Greg Schofield December 11, 2013 um 10:26 am

Eric, this is also an old story of trying to recoup development funds from the first wave of buyers. It is not a strategy but an accountant’s tactic. There is plastic logic which is well capable of producing a similar device, the high price tag is just dumb, meanwhile we will be waiting years for the price fall if the product line itself is not abandoned because of a lack of an initial market (which has happened way too often).

The need fora photocopy replacement technology is ripe, Sony should put some faith in its product and back it with price of mass production instead of its price of pre-production and prototype production. I am so sick of technocrats destroying sound technology by their lemming-like devotion to the supremacy of accountancy and recouping development costs in the first three years — dumb dumb dumb.

Jeff December 16, 2013 um 11:23 pm

$1,000 for a device that only works with PDFs is ridiculous. It would cost little or nothing to include other formats like E PUB. As it stands this device will go the way of Beta Max and Mini Disc. Sony has a knack for crippling great products with needless limitations. It would be great to carry all my sheet music in PDF format on this thing, but $1,000 is just to much for something this limited. Maybe $500, but not more.

Ian January 2, 2014 um 8:53 pm

Same here. They could easily add other file formats JPG, DOC, PNG, TXT…
and add internal storage of 8+GB easily for $400. They need to understand that they can sell 50 times more products at half the price.

And it needs a nice ereader app like RepliGo to browse through the documents and help with annotations. They’d better hurry. Archos has a 13.3″ tablet and more are coming with far more features. There’s no time.

Rob December 24, 2013 um 7:47 pm

I’ve been wanting a device like this for years. I dislike reading papers and technical documents on a screen. I like to regularly get away from the computer. For years, my work process has been: type, print, edit with real ink, retype. I don’t care about formats other than pdf. If I want to read a novel, I’ll read it on a appropriately sized e-book reader. If this genuinely replaces A4 and letter sized printing then it is worth more than $1000 to me. I think Sony have a significant niche here.

Yuri January 2, 2014 um 9:18 am

Looking forward to buying it. As a musician I think this is a great device, which is going to save a lot of trees from being cut for paper. And than My music bag is going to become significantly lighter. So the electronic music stand is finally here! Hurrah!
Now, where do I buy one?

Reader January 14, 2014 um 4:22 am

Add ability to easily install side applications (android, linux?), support djvu, epub, chm formats, maybe bluetooth and I would seriously consider buying it even for 1000. For 300 I take it without thinking.
Otherwise crippled device for ridiculous price… I would say this is pretty much a niche product.

A. Karvajala January 23, 2014 um 6:30 am

Very nice development! I have been waiting for e-readers with larger screens to appear for many years. Meanwhile, I continue using my Onyx M92 reader (9,7 ", now goes for about 300€), which has about the same functionality (e.g. an ability to make notes on PDFs with stylus), but often needs some zooming and scrolling when reading certain PDF’s (especially scientific papers in the double-column format).
When reading e.g. a mathematical paper, it would help to see all the related formulae, diagrams, etc. in one view, without scrolling back and forth.

I’m sure the price will come down, and more software functionality will be added, unless of course they decide to kill it before that. However, the technology for these big screens is developed by E-Ink Corporation, and sooner or later something similar would appear under some other brand name.

Just wait for a couple of years…

Kiers S February 11, 2014 um 8:10 am

Shot through the heart!
Bloody B@******!

I’ve been following this since they leaked in March 2013…I want one I want one etc.
Then they tell you its $1K.!! Shot through the heart.

But the idea is brilliant. Ok pdf only no prob. Stylus is GREAT. Please include some PDA capability like the palm pilot and I WILL DITCH THE INSECURE ANDROID APPS.

B@*****s! $1K is tooo much.

William March 13, 2014 um 3:38 am

With the grey scale A4-sized display, a 32-bit MPU, battery, transceiver, and suitable Flash memory, a display device of this size would have a bill of materials of less than $160. Granted, this device has more going on so that the cost is higher, but at $1000, Sony is vastly over-reaching in an attempt to recoup development costs.

The danger of outlandish pricing on bi-stable display products like this should be obvious — the lack of adoption initiates a negative business feedback loop, discouraging further development. It isn’t that the technology isn’t innovative and useful — it’s just overpriced because Sony feels that they can get it.

P.Sermuga Pandian April 2, 2014 um 12:09 pm

I will certainly be one of the largest ebook reader that would challenge the publication industries . On-line backup of the notes and annotations is so good. It is costlier now. In few years it may come at affordable rates.

P.Sermuga Pandian April 2, 2014 um 12:11 pm

It would challenge the publication industries . On-line backup of the notes and annotations is so good. It is costlier now. In few years it may come at affordable rates.

Kiers S April 13, 2014 um 4:07 am

Yup, that explains it, there is an industry backlash…

1) "dot com industry" does not like "handwriting input". Remember Steve the dictator Jobs proclaimed that there should be NO stylus for tablets! He didn’t like styluses. Makes Sense b/c the dot com industry wants to snoop on everything you do….so much EASIER with KEYBOARD inputs. Stylus handwritten analog inputs are hard to SNOOP on. User Data collection is VITAL.

2) publishing industry is threatened. Especially in the open PDF formats.

optimist April 27, 2014 um 10:22 am

I would buy it for $1100 if it were a color eink with frontlights supported more formats, had an audio dock and probably a camera and a sim card you know like a NORMAL tab which costs half the price

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