Kobo's Wi-Fi eReader Touch arrives in Borders today, $130

Summary:Will a slightly cheaper, more open and social platform convince e-book lovers to buy a Kobo eReader Touch from Borders rather than a Nook Touch or Kindle Wi-Fi?

Following Barnes & Noble's launch of its Nook Touch in New York City late last month, Border's own Wi-Fi Kobo eReader Touch is finally arriving in select stores and online today. Borders is betting the eReader Touch's slight edge in price, International appeal (a German, French and Spanish version is forthcoming, not locked to a U.S.-only e-bookstore), and social rewards in the Reading Life platform will win over some would-be Nook or even Kindle customers. Is Borders onto something here?

At just $129.99 for a touch-based e-book reader, not only does the Kobo device undercut the Nook Touch and the Kindle Wi-Fi by $10, it also offers the following features:

  • Wi-Fi and USB connectivity
  • Access to over 2.3 million books, including over a million free titles, as well as newspapers and magazines from the Kobo Store at Kobo.com, accessible via Borders.com
  • Forthcoming International e-bookstore
  • Compatible with public library file format so users can read library books on the Kobo
  • Support for DRM-free file formats:
    • Books: ePUB, PDF and MOBI
    • Documents: PDF
    • Images: JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF
    • Text: TXT, HTML and RTF
    • Comic Books: CBZ and CBR

  • Import books from other open-standard e-bookstores
  • Automatic bookmarking across devices; free reading app for devices: iPad, iPhone, Blackberry phone and PlayBook, Android phone, PC and MAC OS
  • Battery Life: 1 month (with Wi-Fi turned off)
  • Users can track their reading progress with the Reading Life platform to earn rewards and turn reading into a social experience

Watch a demo of the Kobo device below:
Like its e-book reader rivals, the eReader also uses a 6" Pearl E Ink display that has no glare, with 16 greyscale levels. It is the first to sport the Freescale 508 processor, which according to Gizmodo's hands-on with the device, "The touch response on the Kobo is faster, more immediate than any other touch reader—basically instant."
Thanks to the touchscreen, users can type directly on the virtual keyboard and manipulate content directly using on-screen controls, which simplifies the design of the device to a single "Home" button. With 1 GB of available internal storage and a SD card slot that accepts up to a 32 GB card, the eReader is quite expandable. At just slightly larger than a 6" X 4" photo, 0.4" thick and weighing just over 7 oz., the eReader is actually the most compact e-book reader in its category at the moment.
Border's Kobo eReader Touch comes in four colors -- black, lilac, silver and blue (blue will be available after Father's Day on June 24) -- and has a quilted, soft-back design for added comfort. Look for this e-book reader at a Borders near you and let us know what you think about this Kindle/Nook Touch challenger.
[Source: PRNewswire, Gizmodo, Kobo]

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Topics: Mobility, Hardware

About

Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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