Would anybody be so bold to announce a new line of eReaders and Android tablets the same day as Amazon's big press event? The Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite are immediately impressive, but is there an alternative? Kobo thinks they have just the thing.
Kobo announced today that they will be bringing four new devices to market this year. Three of the devices are updates to their eReader line while the other is an entirely new direction for the company - a 7-inch Android tablet. Kobo's eReaders are currently in the hands of more than 10 million people around the world, but they obviously want to expand that.
Taking on the Paperwhite and the Nook is the Kobo Glo. It uses what they call ComfortLight technology to provide a superior reading experience. In reality, it uses the same frontlit screen technology that the Kindle Paperwhite and Nook use to replicate a realistic reading experience. The device will be available on October 1 for $129.99. For comparison, the Wi-Fi Paperwhite will only be $119.
Kobo is also taking on the original Kindle with the Kobo Mini. The 5-inch tablet is reportedly the smallest and lightest eReader on the market. It uses the same E Ink screen that other eReaders feature but offers the convenience of being able to fit inside a pocket. It will hold up to 1,000 eBooks. The Kobo Mini will retail for $79.99 on October 1.
The Kobo Touch is already available, but the company decided to give it a price cut to remain competitive. The eReader is now only $99.99. It features new software that Kobo says will help readers "personalize the reading experience, get recommendations and discover new content."
The major announcement from Kobo today, however, comes in the form of the Kobo Arc. It's a 7-inch Android tablet that runs on a customized version of Ice Cream Sandwich. The UI is called Tapestries and it pins content on the homepage to recommend new content to users. One major advantage of the Kobo Arc is that it's able to access the Google Play store for even more apps than what Amazon offers on their store. The Kobo Arc launches in November in two flavors - 8GB for $199.99 and 16GB for $249.99.
While it lacks the killer presentation that Amazon put on, Kobo has a decent line up of devices for the holiday season. They cost more than Amazon's offerings, but the Kobo brand has its loyal fans. They're sure to eat up these new products, and they just might get some new fans this year as well.