The debate over the future of dedicated eReaders has warred on between technologists and geeks to the point of absurdity at this point, and frankly we’re sick of the drivel. Of course tablets like the iPad clearly will prove useful to those in need of an integrated solution for everything from watching movies, to browsing the web, checking email, and editing spreadsheets in bed. Then again modern smart phones already do this today, if admittedly to a slightly lesser degree and on smaller screens, but to quote Forrest Gump “that’s all we have to say about that”.
Putting this cutting edge, have to have “one master” gadget mumbo jumbo aside though, just as there will always be some segment of the consumer market interested in owning actual paper books, so will there be interest in owning a plain ole’, run of the mill, dedicated eReader. Thankfully this fact hasn’t slipped the mind of Kobo or Borders.
Announced early this week, the Kobo eReader will sell for $150 at Borders this summer and perform all of the criticals tasks anyone should expect from a gadgetized-book. Measuring 6 inches and weighing .44 pounds, it’s the size of your standard paperback in hand without the weight, and unlike competing models features a grip friendly quilted vinyl surface for a back. The main functions are controlled by an easy to use d-pad for paging through content and navigating the titles in one’s library. Speaking of library, in a nice touch to get buyers reading right away, this little eReader-that-could ships with 100 free eBooks already installed. Plus with 1GB of on board memory, it has additional space for 900 more titles, which can be expanded further through additional memory via an SD card. Battery life is touted as being good for 2 weeks or 8,000 page turns as well.
Outside of that there’s little else to mention and that’s really the point. Instead of featuring cost boosting 3G access, the Kobo instead relies on either a hardwired USB connection or Bluetooth syncing to add and remove titles. While it does support PDF reading, that’s the only other file format outside of ePub titles and Adobe DRM content that can be viewed, which certainly falls short of the Nook or Sony Readers. In the grand scheme of things the Kobo’s lack of bells and whistles though may just be spot on for anyone looking to just ditch lugging stacks of physical books. Especially considering its impulse buy range price tag. Plus with Kobo’s focus on creating a fully fledged eReading ecosystem, as evidenced by its move to build branded software across most of the popular mobile operating systems and other eReaders in the future including the iPad, those who do decide to hop on board should quickly find they’ll be able to access their titles on any hardware under the sun should a upgrade in the future be in the cards.
[ via Geeky Gadgets]
Stay posted on Kobo eReader release here.