As the saying goes, it's all in the timing. But look at it this way: Kobo could have announced its new line of devices the day after Amazon's big reveal. Instead, the outfit's looking to take some wind out of Amazon's sails a few hours before its big event. And while the chances are extremely slim that the company will manage to undercut the looming Kindle news, there's no question that it's coming out of the gate swinging, with the announcement of not one, but three new readers: one glowing, one mini and one slathered in Ice Cream Sandwich. The mini and glowing Glo Comfortlight will arrive in October, with the Android-based Arc arriving in November. All told, they'll range in price from $80 for the Kobo Mini to $250 for the top-end tablet. That's the short version, but if you follow past the break we've got a full rundown of the specs, along with additional photos.
The Glo ComfortLight is, for all intents and purposes, the company's answer to Barnes & Noble's Nook SimpleTouch with GlowLight: it's a 6-inch E Ink reader with Kobo's own proprietary glowing technology. The device measures 4.5 x 6.2 x 0.39 inches, sports a 1GHz Freescale processor and has 2GB of built-in storage, which you can expand up to 32GB, courtesy of a microSD slot. The display's got a resolution of 1024 x 768 and can do 16 levels of gray scale. The battery, meanwhile, should give you a month of play, assuming you don't mess with the glowing light and WiFi. It's also got access to Kobo's standard social features like Reading Life. All told, it will run you $130, and you'll be black, pink, blue and silver.
The Arc is a follow-up to the company's decidedly disappointing Vox Android tablet. This time out, we've got a 7-inch IPS display, a 1.5GHZ Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor and 1GB of RAM. The Arc arrives with Ice Cream Sandwich and, unlike some of the competition, can access the Google Play store. It comes in black and white varieties, with optional interchangeable backs and should give you 10 hours of reading time with the WiFi firmly in the off position. It'll start at $200 for the 8GB version, moving up to $250 for 16 gigs.
Last and most diminutive is the Kobo Mini, the "smallest e-reader on the market," according to Kobo's calculations. The reader sports a 5-inch display and measures 5 x 5.24 x 0.41 inches, weighing in at 134 grams (4.7 ounces). Inside, you'll find an unspecified 800MHz processor and 2GB of storage. Battery-wise we're talking two weeks with WiFi off. Price-wise: $80. The Mini comes in black or white and features three interchangeable color backs.
An eReader for Everyone, Kobo Breaks Ground for eReading with New Family: Kobo Mini, Kobo Touch, Kobo Glo, and Kobo Arc
Starting at $79.99 the New Kobo Family will be available at World's Largest Network of Booksellers and Leading Retailers including Best Buy and Walmart
TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kobo, a global leader in eReading, today unveiled its new Kobo Family of eReading devices: the Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, Kobo Touch and the Kobo Arc – a 7" Android tablet. Designed by booklovers for booklovers, the new Kobo Family starts at $79.99 and provides readers with more choice and more ways to personalize their eReading experience than ever before – including new stylish colors, accessories, lighting and multimedia options.
Launched in 2009, with a vision to transform the world of reading, Kobo remains focused on delivering a superior eReading experience. Today, Kobo has more than 10 million users in 190 countries, and offers one of the world's largest eBookstores with nearly 3 million books across 60 different languages. Kobo pioneered the affordable eReader in May 2010 and is now introducing for the first time its new Kobo Family – offering an eReader for Everyone. The company is a driving force behind the adoption of eReading around the world with its award-winning eReaders and tablets, free apps for tablets, PCs and smartphones, and extensive network of booksellers and leading retailers.
"Our focus has remained firmly on delivering a superior experience for booklovers around the world. With 11,000 booksellers and leading retail partners across five continents, we are bringing the new Kobo Family to booklovers everywhere," said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. "The new Kobo Family provides more choice for booklovers and a superior eReading and content discovery experience – truly, an eReader for Everyone."
This announcement follows last week's news of Kobo's partnership with the American Booksellers Association, empowering up to 2,000 bookstores across America. U.S. independent bookstores join Kobo's global network of leading booksellers including Indigo (Canada), WHSmith (UK), FNAC (France), Mondadori (Italy), Libris (Netherlands), Collins (Australia), Whitcoulls (New Zealand) and Rakuten (Japan).
"The launch of Kobo's new Family of eReading devices represents a bold step for both Kobo and Rakuten," said Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani. "This reinforces our commitment to expanding digital goods and e-commerce services to new markets around the globe through beautiful and exciting devices."
KOBO GLO – READ COMFORTABLY DAY OR NIGHT
The new front-lit Kobo Glo is the next generation in comfortable eReading. It offers innovative soft, even and adjustable ComfortLight technology to enable consumers to read anytime – day or night. Its durable screen and customizable page-turning features make it the perfect eReader for the booklover. The Kobo Glo uses E Ink technology, customizable fonts and a no-glare XGA high-resolution 6" E Ink screen that is just like reading print on paper, and connects easily to Wi-Fi allowing consumers to explore and discover recommendations in the Kobo eBookstore. The Kobo Glo eReader comes in Black or White and a selection of stylish colours – Pink Sunset, Blue Moon, Silver Star - and will be available starting October 1st for $129.99 MSRP.
KOBO MINI – SMALL IS A BIG DEAL
The Kobo Mini is the world's smallest and lightest full-featured E Ink eReader available today, offering the full Kobo experience at a great value. Proving that great things come in small packages, the 5" Kobo Mini easily fits in your purse or pocket and is loaded with all the amazing features Kobo customers have come to know and love. Just like reading print on paper, the no-glare 5" E Ink screen is easy on the eyes – even in bright sunlight. The Kobo Mini comes in black or white and offers a selection of three stylish Kobo SnapBacks in Teal, Ruby Red, and Purple. Perfect for people on-the-go, young adults, and easy for first-time readers to hold and read, the highly portable Kobo Mini holds up to 1,000 eBooks. The Kobo Mini will be available starting October 1st for $79.99 MSRP.
KOBO ARC – READS YOU LIKE A BOOK
The new Kobo Arc offers booklovers a competitively featured Android 4.0 multimedia tablet with a new way to discover content – books, movies, TV shows, music, web pages and more. With a Kobo-developed interface called Tapestries, Kobo Arc gives consumers an exciting new way to discover content. Using an intelligent cross-media recommendations engine, Tapestries responds to the user's "pinned" content to recommend related videos, movies, books, web pages and other related content. Tapestries makes it easy to discover new personal multimedia recommendations with little effort as the engine learns what consumers love – and brings them more. The 7" high-definition display delivers crisp, sharp text and with 16-million colours bring photos and videos to life. With front-facing speakers with SRS TruMedia, a built-in microphone and hi-resolution 1.3 MP camera to take photos and videos, the Kobo Arc offers up to 10 hours of continuous reading or video play, and two weeks on standby. With Google® Play, Kobo Arc users have access to more than 600,000 apps and much-loved pre-loaded apps including Facebook®, Twitter®, Rdio®, Zinio® and PressReader®. The Kobo Arc is available in Black and White with Blue and Purple interchangeable SnapBacks. The Kobo Arc will be available this November, starting at $199.99 (8G) MSRP and $249.99 (16G) MSRP.
KOBO TOUCH – THE MOST NATURAL READING EXPERIENCE
The award-winning Kobo Touch, named Wired's #1 eReader in 2012 and the industry's first touch-screen eReader, is available in stores around the world– and is now $99.99. The Kobo Touch includes Kobo's latest software with more ways to personalize the reading experience, get recommendations and discover new content. The Kobo Touch is available in seven languages including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Japanese.
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER TODAY
Kobo's global network of 11,000 booksellers will be offering the Kobo Family starting in October.
Starting today, the Kobo Glo will be available for pre-order from the following retail partners around the world:
Canada at Indigo - Indigo.ca, Future Shop -Futureshop.ca, and Best Buy – Bestbuy.ca.
The United States pre-order will be available at Bestbuy.com.
Europe, the Kobo Glo will be available in the United Kingdom at WHSmith - WHSmith.co.uk, in France from Fnac.com, and in the Netherlands from Libris at Libris.nl.
Australia and New Zealand, the Kobo Glo will be available at Whitcoulls – Whitcoulls.co.nz and Collins – Collinsbooks.com.au.