updated 03:05 pm EDT, Wed March 24, 2010
Kobo eReader to carry low price, avoid Apple
Previously known for its cross-platform e-book store, Kobo today delved into hardware of its own with the Kobo eReader. The 6-inch device consciously avoids the sheer level of features found in other readers but compensates with a very low $149 price and a simple design. While it has no 3G or Wi-Fi, the eReader will have just a directional pad and four buttons for control and a unique quilted back to ease the grip.
The reader will use ePub as its main e-book format and will carry 1GB of storage, which should support a total of 1,000 e-books. Kobo will preload 100 public domain e-books to get readers started. Canada will be the first to get the device as it should reach Indigo in May, while Borders in the US has a less definitive summer release date.
Hardware of its own won't deter the company's multi-platform plans, and it has provided early details of an iPad version of its software reader. The software, which should eventually carry over to other tablets, takes advantage of the extra size to show more books side-by-side and a visual "I'm reading" list. The app is well into development, but whether or not it will be ready by the iPad's debut hasn't been mentioned.