Kobo has announced their latest e-reader device, the Kobo Vox, as the “world’s first social eReader”. It’s a 7-inch Android tablet running Android 2.3, with an 800 MHz processor and 512 MB of RAM. The 7-inch screen has a resolution of 1024 x 600, and is very readable in sunlight, thanks to the AFFS+ technology and anti-glare coating.
The device has 8 GB of internal storage, but it can be expandable via micro-SD card. And Kobo offers free cloud storage for your purchases, so you can delete e-books, digital magazines, and other Kobo purchases, with the option to redownload them in the future.
Kobo’s main push for this e-reader is that it has a couple social reading features:
1. Reading Life: gamification of your reading stats. Earn awards, track your reading stats, share passages with others on Twitter and Facebook.
2. Kobo Pulse: real-time comments, discussion threads for books that you and your friends are reading at the same time. Like/dislike books, discover new books from what your friends recommend.
It’s a pretty interesting take on e-book reading, but I don’t know if it’s enough to hold back the Amazon Kindle Fire juggernaut. With the Kobo Vox at the same price, but with lesser hardware specs, and lack of digital content that the Amazon will have access to, I’m skeptical that the Kobo Vox will get much of a foothold. I give them props for releasing this product, though. It’s nice to see competition in a time where companies are dropping their products left and right before they can establish their own niche (HP, I’m looking straight at you).
The Kobo Vox will probably attract existing Kobo customers who have bought a lot of Kobo e-books and want a nice new e-reading tablet with a color screen and limited access to Android apps (from Kobo’s press release, it seems like they will offer their own curated app store instead of the Android Market). But beyond that, I don’t see the Kobo Vox making that much of a dent in the market that will be dominated by the Kindle Fire and whatever successor to the Barnes and Noble.
The Kobo Vox is available for pre-order today for $199, and will be shipping October 28.
Take a gander at Kobo’s full press release below:
KOBO EXPANDS EREADER FAMILY
ANNOUNCES THE NEW KOBO VOX WITH VIVID COLOR DISPLAY
THE WORLD’S FIRST SOCIAL EREADER
• INTRODUCING THE NEW KOBO VOX EREADER: NAMED AFTER ‘VOX POPULI’, THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE
• START CONVERSATIONS AND ENGAGE WITH FRIENDS AND OTHER READERS AROUND THE WORLD. DISCOVER NEW BOOKS THROUGH FACEBOOK
• ENJOY READING OUTDOORS WITH THE MOST ADVANCED 7 INCH AFFS+ MULTIMEDIA TOUCHSCREEN
• READ IN VIVID COLOR WITH RICH CONTENT FOR ALL AGES INCLUDING COMICS, COOKBOOKS, TRAVEL GUIDES AND CHILDREN’S BOOKS WITH READ-ALONG TECHNOLOGY
• EXPERIENCE MORE – BROWSE THE INTERNET, ACCESS EMAIL, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LISTEN TO MUSIC, WATCH MOVIES, PLAY GAMES, READ NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES – PLUS ACCESS AN APP STORE WITH OVER 15,000 FREE APPS, ALL ON ANDROID
• AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER TODAY IN CANADA AND THE US FOR THE LOW PRICE OF $199.99
TORONTO, October 19, 2011 — Kobo, a global leader in eReading with over 5 million users worldwide, today announced the New Kobo Vox eReader, the world’s first social eReader. The Kobo Vox, named from the Latin “Vox Populi” meaning the voice of the people, enables readers to start conversations with other readers and discover new books and authors through their social network. With a vivid color display, Kobo takes the reading experience to a whole new level and offers even more content – rich color books, newspapers, magazines, games, music, video, games and social feeds – all on an open Android platform.
“Kobo Vox is the reader for your connected life, and opens the door to the next generation of eReading – social eReading – where books can come alive in color and conversation. Readers can get more out of their experience by connecting with Kobo’s global community of booklovers.” said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. “Plus, with Kobo Vox you have the freedom to connect with friends, listen to music, watch movies, play games and discover new apps with almost unlimited choices.”
A WORLD CLASS READING EXPERIENCE
Based on Kobo’s #1 Ranked Android eReading experience, Kobo Vox was built by readers for readers. Readers can access their entire library on the go, in an easy to hold, lightweight design with a comfortable quilted back. The Kobo Vox comes in a selection of four contemporary, fun, new colors – Hot Pink, Lime Green, Ice Blue and Jet Black, giving readers a choice of options to reflect their personal style. Kobo Vox delivers a superior user experience that allows users to easily navigate their library, scroll through books, turn pages with a tap or swipe, and personalize their reading experience with highlights, annotations, 42 adjustable font sizes and more. The Kobo Vox has onboard storage for up to 8,000 eBooks, with expandable storage to hold up to 40,000 books, and access to unlimited storage in the Kobo cloud. With Kobo, you can read continuously across devices with free top rated Kobo apps available for most popular smartphones, tablets and computers. Developed on Android 2.3, readers have the freedom to customize their experience to best suit their personal needs and preferences.
CAPTURING THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE
Building on the industry leading social platform, Reading Life, users can now choose to connect with friends or create book clubs and discuss their favorite reads on Facebook, track their reading statistics, and unlock fun and exciting awards just for reading. The recent innovation of Kobo Pulse™ takes social reading to a new level – readers can literally see the pulse of a book page by page. Pulse provides a visual reflection of the amount of user commentary and sharing on each page of every book. The people’s voice (vox populi) is woven through the reading experience in a way readers have never experienced before. Readers can leave reviews, start conversations, and share comments and thoughts in real-time with others who are reading the same book, all within the book itself. Kobo Pulse provides the ultimate source for book recommendations, as the suggestions come from friends and ‘like’ minded readers whose opinions and interests are similar and trusted. Now, “The End” is no longer the end.
Facebook recognized the power of Reading Life and Pulse and selected Kobo as the only eReading partner at their recent f8 conference. Kobo is the first eReading platform to be integrated with Facebook Ticker and Timeline to enable further reading discovery and entertainment.
THE MOST ADVANCED MULTIMEDIA TOUCHSCREEN
Featuring a brilliant multimedia touchscreen, readers can experience text with high contrast and immerse themselves in books, magazines, games and videos in vivid color. When designing the device, Kobo had an eye on the need for great reading outdoors (and indoors) and selected the most advanced 7 inch AFFS+ display – the same technology used in airplane cockpits (there are no clouds at 30,000 feet). In addition to its excellent performance outdoors in bright sunlight, this display also features an extra-wide viewing angle, ideal for shared reading and viewing.
NOW READ IN VIVID COLOR
Kobo’s global ebookstore – 2.5 million books and over 1 million free – just got better with new color and enhanced multimedia content. Discover a new world of reading with rich color content for all ages, including cookbooks, engaging travel guides, comic books, and graphic novels. Parents and children can read together with Read Along children’s books, a great way to spend quality time and a fun way to help children learn to read. The Vox eReader includes three free color books, so people can start building their color library right away; there is a selection of dessert recipes for the chef-in-training in Sweet Dreams, Lonely Planet’s Europe Essentials for the avid traveler and Franklin and the Thunderstorm for young readers.
EXPERIENCE MORE – THE EREADER FOR YOUR CONNECTED LIFE
In addition to reading, Kobo Vox users can easily browse the Web, check email, listen to music, watch movies, play games and store personal photos. Choose from a selection of pre-loaded top ranked entertainment apps:
• Magazines from Zinio® – plus 12 FREE popular magazines for Kobo Vox owners
• Newspapers from PressReader™ – over 1,900 full newspapers from around the world – and a gift of 7 newspapers of your choice!
• Massive selection of music from RDIO® – with a 7 day free trial
• Get social with Twitter® & Facebook®
• Book lover must-have: Merriam Webster’s Dictionary
• Games like Cut the Rope®
• Apps – over 15,000 FREE apps
• Kobo and Facebook widgets that sit right on the home screen
• Access to more music and video services in the app store
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
At Kobo, we believe people should have the ability to read on any device. Readers can download free Kobo eReading apps to read across the most popular devices including desktops, laptops, tablets, Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Blackberry® Smartphones and PlayBooks. Readers can also download their ebooks and read on a wide range of dedicated eReaders.
Consistent with our open philosophy, Kobo Vox offers full access to Android 2.3, and includes an open app store with over 15,000 FREE apps for Android. With-fast web browsing, Vox users will have the latest news, weather, and Hollywood gossip at their fingertips. Plus, Vox’s full-featured email client supports POP, IMAP and Microsoft® ActiveSync so users can get their personal email like Yahoo and Gmail and work email too!
AMAZING LOW PRICE OF $199.99, AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER STARTING TODAY
The Kobo Vox will begin rolling out internationally today, starting with the US and Canada.
In Canada, Kobo Vox is available for pre-order online at leading Kobo retail partners:
Indigo Books & Music (www.indigo.ca), Future Shop (www.futureshop.ca), Best Buy (www.bestbuy.ca), and Kobo.com for a MSRP of $199.99
In the U.S., the Kobo Vox is available for pre-order at Best Buy (www.bestbuy.com), Fry’s Electronics (www.frys.com), and at Kobo.com for a MSRP of $199.99.
For more information on Kobo and the new Kobo Vox eReader visit www.Kobo.com