PonoPlayer to be available for pre-order via Kickstarter campaign beginning next week
Musician Neil Young has founded a high-fidelity digital music service, and with it an accompanying playback device soon to be available for pre-order. Entitled PonoMusic, the company encompasses both an online music store and a playback device (PonoPlayer), which is set to be available for pre-ordering through Kickstarter starting next week. The PonoPlayer offers the ability to play high-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels, curated and archived for purchasing on PonoMusic.com. The aim is to deliver audio quality that is far superior to other audio file formats, such as the standard MP3.
Kobo to serve as e-book option for customers
In addition to getting out of the personal computing business and spinning off their television division, Sony will start dropping out the e-book business as well. In a press release from the company, Sony will be teaming up with Kobo in the United States and Canada in late March 2014, closing its Reader Store in the process.
iPhone, iPad interfaces now consistent
E-reading company Kobo has launched a major redesign of Kobo Books for iOS, used to read books downloaded through the company's online store. Visually the app is now in line with iOS 7, with a "flatter" look, new fonts, and translucency effects. Kobo has also done work on the interface however, for instance overhauling the Library and adding a slide-out navigation menu.
Small and light six-inch touchscreen ebook reader examined
Five years ago, we thought that by the end of 2013 there'd be a bigger market for e-book readers. Then, along came the tablet that Jobs built and a slew of followers-on. Just as the iPod did away with most of the competition, the tablet market seems to be having much the same effect on the ebook reader segment. Kobo, a big player in the international market, has a well-received line of e-readers, and we got a chance to spend a month with the Kobo Aura, one of its latest devices. Read on to see what we thought of this dedicated e-reader.
Publishers expected to pay out over $162 million
Two of the five publishers accused of conspiring with Apple to inflate e-book prices, Macmillan and Penguin, have started issuing emails to e-book customers, informing them of rights, responsibilities, and proposed terms in the legal settlement the companies negotiated. Under current terms, the publishers would distribute approximately $162.25 million to customers who bought e-books at any digital outlet between the iBookstore's launch on April 1st, 2010 and May 21st, 2012.
Tablets range from low end to high, e-reader derivative from earlier limited edition
E-reader vendor Kobo today announced its new lineup of eReading devices, featuring the new Kobo Aura six-inch E Ink eReader, the Google-certified Kobo Arc 10HD and two Kobo Arc 7 tablets. Designed specifically for readers, the new lineup is built on Kobo’s unique user experience "Reading Life" enabling the collection, curation and discovery of content.
New device boasts 1GHz processor, wide file format support
E-book vendor Kobo today announced its limited-edition Kobo Aura HD e-ink e-book reader. The 6.8-inch Pearl touchscreen runs at an e-ink industry-high of 265 DPI. The device's 1GHz Freescale i.MX507 processor makes the new device the fastest e-reader on the market, according to the company.
Kindle Store, Google Play hitting Brazil
Amazon and Google have opened digital bookstores in the Brazilian market as of today, looking to capitalize on the growing popularity of e-books in South America's largest country. Amazon will be selling its digital books through its popular Kindle Store and is expected to begin selling its Kindle hardware in Brazil in the near future. Google, meanwhile has expanded its Play Store, which sells e-books and offers movie rentals for computers as well as mobile devices running its Android operating system.
Increases to three options, highest at 32GB
Kobo is extending its oncoming tablet release by including options with a higher storage capacity. The Kobo Arc was originally set to be released with an 8GB and 16GB model, but has decided to instead release three versions with memory sizes of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The sudden capacity change could be a response to the Amazon Kindle Fire HD having a maximum of 32GB.
Livraria Cultura to sell Kobo devices below Kindle costs
Kobo will partner with major Brazilian bookseller Livraria Cultura to sell its e-readers and ebooks. The e-reader manufacturer confirmed the partnership in a blog post last Friday. The deal will give Kobo a foothold in the burgeoning Brazilian e-reader market, which has seen increased attention from the major digital reader and e-book retailers over the past year.
Kobo updates e-readers with E Ink and IPS tech
Kobo has revamped its e-reader lineup adding three fresh devices to its lineup. The headliner is an Android 4.0 ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ 7-inch tablet it calls the Arc that is available in 8GB ($200) and 16GB ($250) flavors. The new device is powered by a TI OMAP 4470 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM, while it centers on a 1280x800 IPD LCD display.
Ingram services Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo stores
Amazon Publishing's New York arm has signed a deal with media vendor Ingram to distribute its ebooks through other sales venues. CoreSource, Ingram's digital distribution channel, will distribute the ebook rights to Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobo. Although e-books are "supplied" by Ingram, the choice remains with the vendor if it chooses to supply Amazon-published e-books.
Deal replaces Google-indie bookseller deal
Kobo has announced that it will enter an agreement with the American Booksellers Association in which Kobo will sell e-books and its line of e-readers through independent US booksellers. The Kobo deal will replace a similar deal the ABA had reached with Google, which will expire in January 2013. That deal failed to gain any real consumer interest, but Kobo, which announced the deal in a post on the company's blog today, expects that the new deal will give it a much-needed foothold in the American market, which is dominated by Amazon and, to a lesser degree, Barnes & Noble.
Google e-book resales shift back to Play store
Google gave notice Thursday that it was ending its e-book reseller program. The effort, which let physical retailers and other third parties resell from Google Play Books, had "not gained the traction" Google wanted. A current set of 16 partners would be phasing out as the service wound down by the end of January.
100+ titles available through Nook Comics store
Both Barnes & Noble and Kobo have started to offer Dark Horse Comics' graphic novels for the Nook Tablet, Nook Color, and Kobo Vox. Over 100 of the company's titles will be available for purchase and downloading through the Nook Comics and Kobo stores. Previously, they had been available for iOS devices.
Amazon tries self-publishing outside of Kindle
Amazon is making a rare effort to branch out in its e-book publishing beyond the Kindle through a new deal with author James Atlas that was outlined on Friday. A new 12-book biography line, Amazon Lives, will be edited by Atlas and published in e-book form in other stores, the New York Times was understood. Which stores would get it weren't mentioned, although it's unlikely to involve the Nook store given active bans on Amazon material over Barnes & Noble's objection to digital exclusives on the Kindle.
Kobo one of the first to launch eReader app for W8
Kobo has announced that it will be one of the first eBook retailers to have an app featured in the Windows Store ready for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The app is built on HTML 5 and Java Script and offers users a tailored central location where they can manage their Kobo reading experience across devices. The app also presents with users a revamped UI and a new library view offering easier search.
Kobo Vox spreads to Best Buy stores
Kobo made an important leap forward for itself Wednesday after it landed a deal for the Vox e-reader tablet to reach US Best Buy stores. The Android slate should be in stores now for the same $199 asked elsewhere. All four colors should be available on the Vox, which ships preloaded with both Kobo's own book app as well as PressReader newspapers, Zinio magazines, Merriam-Webster's Dictonary, and major apps like Rdio's music streaming, Facebook, and Twitter.
Kobo tries to spur new readers through free books
Kobo is trying a unique strategy to lure readers away from Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble by promising regular free e-books. Anyone who buys a Kobo Touch and first uses it on or before March 31 gets a free e-book each month. The publishers include Harvard Business Review Press, e-Reads, F+W Media, Gooseberry Patch, and New Word City, as well as four independent authors.
More Cyber Monday deals
More great Cyber Monday deals keep popping up that are too good to pass on. Buy.com has cut the price on the Kobo Touch eReader with special offers is available today for only $69.99 after a $30 price break, FREE shipping is included. Head to RadioShack.com for some great prices on stocking stuffer items like the Skullcandy Ink'd earbuds, today only $12.99, or the XtremeMac Tuffwrap Textured iPod touch protective case now only $14.99.
Kobo Touch gets ad-based model to undercut Amazon
Kobo has fired back at Amazon's Kindle Touch by launching its own Kobo Touch with Offers. The six-inch touchscreen e-reader brings in the same concept of ads in the screensaver or home screen to help subsidize the price. The option helps drop the price by $40 over the original Kobo Touch and puts it at the same $100 price as its Amazon equivalent.
Rakuten buyout puts Kobo in Japanese hands
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten said late Tuesday that it was buying Kobo for $315 million in cash. The deal gives it access to both an e-bookstore and e-reader devices, including traditional devices like the Wireless eReader and Android tablets like the Kobo Vox. Rakuten explained it as a push to expand its ecosystem outside of Japan through a media store, where books would just be the start.
Company to help with editing and design
Kobo has announced plans to launch its own publishing service to complement its e-book distribution business. The company is said to be readying a range of publishing services, working directly with authors to edit content and establish book designs.
Kobo to ship Vox tablet on October 28 for $200
Kobo has now officially revealed its 7-inch Vox Android tablet, offering it p for pre-order. It will cost $200 and sport an 800MHz processor along with 512MB of RAM. For storage, 8GB is built-in and up to 32GB more can be added thanks to an SD memory card.
Kobo Vox leaks on Future Shop, due October 17
Kobo's seven-inch Vox Android tablet very briefly showed up on Canadian retailer's Future Shop website on Thursday, though it has since been pulled, The Digital Reader reported. Despite this, official specs were gleaned, and an image capture of the webpage in question is available. The price tag was set at $250 CAD ($242) and the release date was October 17, at least in Canada.
Kobo Vox eReader tablet undergoes FCC testing
A new mystery e-book reader tablet from Kobo has just showed up undergoing FCC testing. While not much is known about it, other than the Kobo Vox name and an eReader Tablet description, it does also appear to have a touchscreen. The profile photo also reveals a microUSB port and a headphone jack, suggesting some sort of multimedia capabilities.
Kobo eReader Touch now at Best Buy for $130
Kobo's eReader Touch Edition is now available at Best Buy stores, with Kobo specialists in place at stores to demonstrate the devices to would-be buyers. The $130 device will also show up in other retail stores before year's end.
Kobo HTML5 app to accommodate iOS users
Kobo on Tuesday set out a plan for an HTML5 e-reading app to circumvent Apple's app purchasing rules. The app won't be a direct replacement but will let iPad and iPhone users buy directly from the same interface they use to read books. Kobo made clear it felt Apple was artificially limiting competition and hurting the reading experience.
Amazon Kindle iOS app loses store for magazines
Amazon on Monday gave into Apple's demands and pulled the Kindle Store button from its iOS app (free, App Store). Following similar moves by Google, Kobo, and the WSJ, Kindle readers using version 2.8 and up will now have to purchase the books on the web and only sync them through the iPad or iPhone. Apple as of July officially allows only its own store to have a direct purchase link.
Kobo and WSJ back out after new iOS app rules
Kobo and the Wall Street Journal said Sunday they would stop offering a direct gateway to buying books or subscriptions through their iPad and iPhone apps. Both had decided to follow Apple's new iOS subscription rules barring links to something other than iTunes. Purchases for either will have to now go through the web without direct links.
Kobo reassures in wake of Borders' death
Kobo reached out to assuage readers in the wake of Borders' eventual death with promises that devices like the eReader Touch Edition and book purchases would carry over. The e-book firm had already been moving customers over from the Borders-specific accounts over to Kobo's own. Readers should have access to all the same books but also stay more current on apps and features.
Borders liquidating and closing all stores
Borders on Monday night said it would effectively shut down as it planned to liquidate its business. Following unsuccessful tries at selling itself following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company planned to sell all 399 of its stores and their assets to two liquidation companies, Gordon Brothers and Hilco. The clearout would start as soon as Friday with the entire process wrapped up by September.
Nook touch trumps Kindle in Consumer Reports
Barnes & Noble scored a symbolic win on Friday as the new touchscreen Nook topped the Amazon Kindle in Consumer Reports' new e-reader ratings [sub. required]. The new Nook reached 78 points to the Kindle 3G's 77 owing to the simpler, much more focused design. Many features were equal, and the Nook just edge Amazon's reader in format support.
New law may dictate e-book costs beyond France
A new law passed last week by France's National Assembly could have repercussions for e-book pricing beyond the country itself. Known just as a "prix du livre numérique" (price of digital books) law, it would update the country's Lang Law from 1981 to require that books with a French publisher be sold in France at no more than a five percent discount below the list price. The requirement is irrespective of the company's origin and would make e-book providers like Amazon, Apple, or Kobo follow French rules even though they were located in North America.
Kobo eReader Touch Edition due in June
Kobo this morning put itself back into contention in the e-reader space at BookExpo America by launching the eReader Touch Edition. Its new model has a namesake six-inch, infrared-based touchscreen that simplifies the interface even further with swipe and zoom gestures along with taps. The reader should also be an upgrade to the experience itself, getting both a faster, higher-contrast E Ink Pearl screen as well as a faster Freescale i.MX507 processor to speed screen redraws.
Kobo Wireless eReader now at Best Buy for $100
Kobo and Best Buy on Thursday partnered to sell the Kobo Wireless eReader in Best Buy stores and on the retailers web sites for the first time. Also, to mark Mother's Day, the device will be on sale for $100 before returning to its regular $130 price tag on May 14. The device was only available through Borders stores before this announcement.
E Ink puts video-ready Pearl screen sequel in 2012
E Ink global sales head Sri Peruvemba in an interview Monday both dampened hopes for a sequel to its Pearl e-paper displays while promising a major leap with the next release. He told CNET not to expect any replacement in 2011 but promised much better performance. The next generation could display full-motion video, or at least 24 frames per second.
Our review of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
RIM has often been the definition of conservative: for the past few years, the BlackBerry has almost always been slight variations on a theme and still devoted to the suit-and-tie audience. The BlackBerry PlayBook is the first real sign of the Waterloo company trying to shake its stigma with a genuinely new interface and an emphasis on 3D games and other features that would have been borderline heretical in the past. And, for some, an admission that Apple caught it off-guard with the iPad. We'll find out in our review of the PlayBook whether the tablet is enough to break free of a limiting reputation -- and whether the iPad 2 should be looking over its shoulder.
Kobe gets $50m investment, outlines world plans
Kobo has just announced securing $50 million in investment, the majority of which came from who is only being identified as a "leading institutional investor." The rest, $13 million, came from existing investors. This money will be used to fund Kobo's international growth, said Kobo CFO Greg Twinney.
Amazon plans ad-sponsored Kindle for 114
Amazon up-ended the e-reader market on Monday with word of an ad-sponsored version of the Kindle. Called just the Kindle with Special Offers, it will have ads both on the bottom of the home page and on its idle screens. The new reader would drop the price by $25 over a Wi-Fi version and should ship both online and through Best Buy and Target on May 3.
BlackBerry PlayBook to have official video chat
RIM enterprise strategy VP David Heit at a Boston event said the BlackBerry PlayBook would have an official video chat app. Instead of relying on third-party apps like Android, it should have a new peer-to-peer app intended for all users, similar to FaceTime. Heit didn't tell PCWorld if it would use a standard that would allow chatting with other platforms or if it would be limited to the PlayBook, although the current roadmap shows no BlackBerry phones with front cameras this year.
BlackBerry PlayBook to come with 7digital music
RIM late Tuesday scored a deal to give the BlackBerry PlayBook a preloaded music store. 7digital's store will be preloaded on the tablet and give access to about 13 million pay-per-track songs. The store is the most popular on BlackBerry phones and is one of the few to have an international scope, having grown beyond Europe to reach the US two years ago.
Barnes & Noble claims quarter of US e-book market
Barnes & Noble in posting results for its most recent quarter late Tuesday claimed to have gained market share for e-books in the US. The company claimed to have moved from its usual fifth of the market to 25 percent. It tied the success to that of the Nook and noted that it was selling twice as many e-books as any paper books online.
Borders files for Chapter 11 protection, more
Last week's unofficial report of the Borders Group's near bankruptcy status is now official, as the company detailed its plans. The company has filed a petition for reorganization relief under Chapter 11 after the authorization of its board of directors. The deal will secure commitment for $505 million in debtor-in-possession financing from GE Capital, Restructuring Finance.
Borders near Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Borders' financial troubles in the e-book era could come to a head early next week after a leak has revealed it's close to bankruptcy. The bookseller is now believed to be filing a non-permanent Chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon as Monday or Tuesday. Its plan would see it get debtor-in-possession financial backing during the bankruptcy of as much as $450 million from Bank of America or GE, but it would also close 200 of its existing 674 stores, the WSJ sources behind the leak said.
Borders delays book payments in financial deals
Borders has been delaying payments to book publishers in signs that it may be one of the first major victims of e-books. Early reports from Publishers Marketplace on Friday said it was putting off the payments to help refinance its debt but also wasn't certain that the plan would be effective. It might have to break its existing credit deals early into 2011 after facing a "liquidity shortfall," it said.
Kobo comments on its strongest holiday season yet
Kobo on Monday has issued a statement that talks about strong sales of its hardware and e-books over the holiday season, following competitor Amazon's similar announcement from earlier in the day. While exact numbers weren't revealed, Kobo did say more than one million readers connected to Kobo's online service, with "hundreds of thousands" of the company's eReaders activated every day since Christmas Eve. This helped the company to achieve its highest e-book download rate to date.
Kobo iOS app users get Instapaper update
Kobo on Friday introduced an update to its e-reader app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch (free, App Store). Chief among the changes is the introduction of Instapaper. Like the stand-alone service, it lets users save web content for reading offline later. Users can sync their Kobo apps with Instapaper as they would any other title.
RIM accepts BlackBerry PlayBook apps
RIM today began accepting BlackBerry PlayBook app submissions for an eventual posting to BlackBerry App World. The primarily AIR- and Flash-based apps that pass approval should go up when the PlayBook releases early next year. Developers can write apps in Linux, the Mac and Windows, with recent addition bringing 64-bit Windows development and emulation support in Linux.
Borders SEC filing hints at Barnes and Noble talks
Borders might buy out Barnes & Noble in what could be a major shakeup in the e-reader space, according to an SEC filing. Borders has said it might buy its rival bookseller for $16 per share or else a mixture of cash and stock. There is "no assurance" that a deal will be finished, Borders cautioned.