Kobo Jumps on eReader Bandwagon

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 26 2010 3:58 PM
As 2010 rolls on, it might be easier to take inventory of which companies aren't planning on entering the ebook reader market rather than which ones are. Count Kobo among the latter, who this week announced a $149 e-reader during the CTIA show.

The price sounds about right, but does Kobo have a real shot at competing in what's fast becoming a hugely crowded market? Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo, certainly thinks so. He's banking on his e-reader's low price tag, along with having it carried by Borders book stores in the U.S. this summer.



Taking a peek at the spec sheet, the Kobo eReader appears to compare favorably with Amazon's Kindle 2, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Sony's Reader Pocket Edition. The Kobo eReader comes pre-loaded with 100 free books and serves up support for ePub, PDF, and Adobe DRM file formats. It also includes 1GB of memory -- enough to store 1000 books -- and boasts a 6-inch E-ink display.

But it's not just other ebook readers Kobo is going up against. There are a ton of tablets on tap for 2010, including a device called the iPad that you might have heard about. Is there enough room in the market for a deluge of dedicated ebook readers, handheld tablets, and netbooks?
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So this is roughly like buying one of those small paperback books? It would be nice if they would respect the customer enough to add a color screen.

This thing will probably be great for schools. If they brought down the price to where mothers could buy this in place of the equal amount of school supplies. Then maybe student would have less to carry around. Then again in a few years that is probably exactly what all those tablets will do.

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Devhux replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 12:21 AM

While color e-ink displays are going to be coming, they aren't ready yet.

They could have used an LCD screen, but backlit LCDs generally are harder on the eyes than the e-ink display that these eReaders use. For someone like me who reads a lot of books (and sometimes for hours at a time), minimal eyestrain is extremely important. That's why I bought my Sony reader.

Not everyone notices the eyestrain from viewing an LCD for extended periods of time, and if you happen to fall in that camp then a tablet/slate would be fine.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 2:37 PM

I'm not so sure how well this will do, when it's sitting right next to the Sony Readers (also sold at Borders). The price is $20 less than the Sony pocket reader, and the screen's an inch bigger... but I don't know that this makes it so much more attractive that people are going to risk going with a company whose long-term future is an unknown.

I, for one, would never buy it unless it uses a non-DRM'd format so that I can backup and move any purchases to another e-reader in the event this company goes out of business and my unit breaks.

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