Bob Boynton reports on a Washington Post article that claims Sony will introduce the Data Discman, a portable text reading system. The hand-held system consists of a 3" CD-ROM drive, a ten line screen, and a small keyboard. The principle behind the device is instant access to large volumes of information, and to avoid the common chicken/egg problem, 18 CDs will be released along with the Data Discman in Japan on July 1st (overseas introduction is scheduled within a year). All 18 CDs are reference works, though other types of information such as fiction may appear later. The problem with fiction would be reading it on a ten line screen, but the unit can use a television as an alternate viewing device and also has a jack for headphones.
No mention was made of a method of attaching the device to a computer, but at a price around $400, it would certainly be popular with computer owners looking to get into the CD-ROM world but scared off by the high prices of CD-ROM players. In any event, the Data Discman is likely to popularize the concept of easily accessible electronic information, and that will be a boon to the computer industry.
Bob Boynton — [email protected]
Washington Post — 16-May-90, pgs. D9,D13
InfoWorld — 28-May-90, Vol. 12 #22, pg. 21