Running through the features list of Barnes & Noble's recently-revealed touch-based Nook, it's difficult not to draw comparisons to the Kobo eReader Touch, which made its appearance on Monday. Let's take a look at how the two devices stack up against each other.
Judging by both devices, it is clear that the era of the touch screen eReader is officially here. While Sony's Readers have had the feature for a while now, rival manufacturers are finally catching on, ushering in the end of the eReader with a physical keyboard. Instead of keys, both devices feature on-screen, touch-based keyboards, a route Amazon is almost guaranteed to take with the next Kindle upgrade.
What about screen size? At 6 inches, the screen sizes of the Nook and Kobo are identical, which is disappointing considering that neither device features a keyboard. More important than screen size for Barnes & Noble, however, is the Nook's proprietary anti-flashing technology, which cuts down on the ghosting effect that appears when the device changes pages. It's a noticeable and very refreshing change.
Battery life stands as a major differential between the Kobo and Nook. Barnes & Noble says that the latest Nook can run for two months with Wi-Fi off. That blows the current Kindle out of the water, and decimates the Kobo's relatively paltry 10-day battery life.
It's in the price realm that the Kobo holds a slight, but perhaps significant advantage. As Barnes & Noble sells the latest Nook for $139, the Kobo Touch will for $130, nine dollars less. Will consumers notice the price difference? Who knows. But the difference is there.
Both the Kobo and Nook come with interesting new social features. The Kobo, for instance, offers readers rewards for tasks like reading daily for two weeks and reading over 10,000 pages. These achievements, along with a Kobo owner's Reading Life stats can be shared with friends. Via Nook Friends, the Nook owners can lend, borrow, and comment on books with other Nook owners - major features for those looking to add a social layer to the reading experience.
The Kindle Approaches
While the Nook and Kobo have been grabbing headlines this week, it won't be long until the attention once again shifts to the Kindle. While Amazon's plans for the future of the Kindle are still unknown, it is almost a sure bet that its next eReader will look a lot like the Nook and Kobo, keyboard-less face and all.