With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?

With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?

Summary: The race for the eReader crown is picking up steam as both Barnes and Noble and Borders unveil their latest eReaders. Which device comes out on top?

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TOPICS: Tablets, Amazon, Hardware
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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.

Welcome, touch

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.

Screen Size

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

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.

Price

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.

Social

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.

Topics: Tablets, Amazon, Hardware

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10 comments
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  • RE: With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?

    I agree in that B&N definately stole Kobo's thunder. Kobo will remain the weaker of the two in the US. However, I'm severely disappointed in B&N dropping the capabilities that they had in their previous nook, such as 3G and audio.
    wendywc
  • Kobo is toast

    I have a (non-touchscreen) Kobo, and I really like it (it's very easy to use and reads the ePub format, unlike that damn proprietary locked-down Kindle), but with Borders' financial problems and their already weak market share in ereaders, the days of Kobo are limited. Too bad, really - the touchscreen version looks pretty nice. With the enhanced battery life of the Nook (over the earlier color version), I'd definitely check it out as a next-gen reader.
    doodlius
  • RE: With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?

    It'll be interesting to see Amazon's reply to this. As much as I hate touch keyboards, the physical keyboard on the Kindle is all but useless and non-touch navigation is difficult.
    Now it is starting to look like Kindle has some catching-up to do...
    Scrabbler
  • Did Kobo really ever get out of the gate?

    Originally they were trading on price, but that dried up quickly.
    happyharry_z
  • RE: With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?

    I played with previous gen Kobos at a Borders store.
    They were horrible. Grey screen, slow, poorly designed UI, cheap look-and-feel.
    Hope the new version is better (though it may be too late).
    Scrabbler
  • Barnes and Noble is US Only

    Barnes and Noble won't directly sell to anyone outside the US. Unless a person outside the US uses a VPN to alter his IP address, B&N can't sell new ebooks to anyone outside the US. This includes Americans traveling abroad unless they are in the military using a .mil registration address. Kobo may not compete as well with Nook in the US but they don't have any competition from B&N on the rest of the planet. Kobo will do OK with this reader.
    timwil36
  • RE: With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?

    Neither seems like much of a comparison to my Sony Daily Edition with 7-inch screen at 1024x600 resolution, music player, web browser (not very highly usable, but a nice feature once in a while), note taking ability (maybe they have that?), and a nice package of add-on hacks from PRS-Plus project (<a href="http://code.google.com/p/prs-plus/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://code.google.com/p/prs-plus/</a>). Of course I waited until I could find one in good condition on eBay for just under $200 (still a lot higher than either Kobe or Nook, so I have to admit not a "fair" comparison ;) ) since I was not about to pay the $300 asking price.
    aroc
  • RE: With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?

    Aroc,

    I don't know if it's there is an overlay on the Sony PRS-950 but it looks a couple of shade of gray darker when compared to the Kindle 3. I know both have the Pearl screen so that's kind of weird. I wish all the features of the Sony (3G, music, browser) were on this B&N Nook because the Nook is CLEARLY faster with the 800Mhz processor. The Sony was painfully slow and the price is stupid high. Sony this is not 2008 adjust your prices to match everyone elses. Sheesh!
    slappy76
  • Comparison photos seem skewed

    The Kobo is 1/2" narrower than the new Nook and the same length, making the Kobo a worthy mobile competitor to Sony's 5" Pocket Reader since it is only 3/8" wider than that device. Portability is a significant influence on a male purchaser's decision. Being able to drop an ereader in your shirt or coat pocket versus buying a cover and carrying it in a purse in a big plus factor.

    That extra 1/2" in width also makes the Nook less attractive and more "boxy" looking. Whatever you did to the pictures, concealed this important advantage for the Kobo. Just ask Apple how important appearance is in influencing a purchasing decision.
    pauldryan
  • RE: With Barnes & Noble's newest Nook revealed, does the Kobo stand a chance?

    I agree with pauldryan above. The image of Kobo has been stretched out making it look wider than the Nook. I am glad other people are noticing this and pointing it out because I was pretty much sold on the Nook until I saw the new dimensions. Too wide for my taste. I prefer the narrower Kobo. If the Nook is the superior product, one shouldn't have to alter the image of the competition. Go to Kobo's website to see an accurate image.
    sissyg