A Sony e-reader that is currently on the market

Just one day before the iPad hits Japanese store shelves, Sony has stepped into the game saying “Wait for us!” The electronics giant announced today that it would be launching a new e-reader to rival Apple’s uber popular iPad. The new reader will also be supported by “one of the largest eBook distribution platforms in Japan,” according to Sony. But will it be able to compete with Apple’s flat wonder?

While the announcement comes now, Sony said that it will wait until the end of the year to actually launch its new reader and content service. Although it seems strange for Sony to wait so many months after the release of the iPad, they explained that the breadth of available content is more important than time to market, which makes sense since their last e-book venture in Japan (which was only a reader with no supporting content) flopped.

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The debut of Sony’s first wireless e-reader in 2009

To set up and maintain desirable content, Sony partnered with telecommmunications operator KDDI Corp, printing company Toppan Printing Co. and popular Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. Their distribution service plans to offer books, comics, magazines and newspaper content.

Sony already has an e-book business in the United States, but pulled similar products from Japanese stores in 2007 due to bland sales figures. They’re planning to capture the attention of more Japanese buyers now that the iPad is creating a buzz around e-readers and more people are concerned about the environmental impact of printing millions of newspapers everyday.

Via Reuters