About

On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

Recent Comments

October 2016
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

New Kobo Touch eReader Attempts To Match Kindle

So far the big contribution that the Kobo has made to the eReader marketplace, in my opinion, is spurring the more established and easy to use eReaders like the Kindle and Nook into an abrupt price drop.  The Kobo hit stores at $150 at a time when a decent eReader would cost you somewhere around a hundred dollars more than that no matter which one you went with.  It made a big difference, even if the Kobo itself was so basic and clunky to use that it didn’t make a huge splash in terms of usability.  Now, with their first major hardware upgrade, the Kobo eReader is back in the race.  The new Kobo is a lot easier on the eyes and promises to be more than a little bit simpler to use.  The big question is whether or not it is enough of a change.

In a lot of ways, the new Kobo Touch is the same concept as the new Nook.  You’ve got a 6″ E Ink Pearl screen, a Home button, and a nicely dark frame.  Lots of visual similarities.  You also get a WiFi connection, though it only works to go to the Kobo Store.  The touchscreen seems ok, and they avoided the blurriness issues that arose in Sony’s touchscreen eReaders by going with a touchscreen technology that does not involve an extra screen layer.  You even get a fair amount of internal memory and an SD slot to work with.  Really, though, it seems like something is missing to be really competitive here.

Leave aside the Kindle comparison for the moment to focus on the more directly comparable new Nook.  Yes, there is a $10 price difference, but consider what is being sacrificed for that money.  Both devices have EPUB support and work well with libraries, by all accounts.  The Nook is supposedly pushing 60 days of battery life these days compared to the new Kobo’s 10 days.  You only get two font sizes to choose from on the Kobo.  You won’t be getting apps of any sort, from what I can see.  Even the size isn’t considerably smaller in any way.

The one place where the Kobo might make a splash is in its social networking service.  Amazon’s Kindle has done a bit along these lines and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Kindle Tablet do more when it comes around, but so far I would say that the Kobo’s Reading Life is a lot more elaborate.  Up until now, to the best of my knowledge, this feature has only been available through iOS and Android apps rather than as a part of the Kobo eReader itself.  It tracks reading time, page turns, books completed, hands out awards for having read books, and more.

Will the novelty be able to clear a spot near the top of the eReader market for the Kobo?  Probably not.  Keep in mind, however, that there is room for variety.  This is probably the third best eReader brand out there right now as far as the price to features ratio is concerned.  There might very well be a place for it even with the Nook and Kindle holding what are in my opinion deservedly superior positions at the moment.

Kobo’s Reading Life is Interesting

At a time when the bigger names in eReading like Kindle and Nook are probably a little bit nervous about the future of their place on Apple’s devices, Kobo comes along and introduces an interesting and fun new set of features specifically for them that might be exactly what they need to attract new users.  Reading Life, as they have named the feature, is a combination of social networking and a game-like achievement system that should provide an interesting contrast against other similar platforms and their offerings.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, and I’ll assume that’s most of you, you do have the same ability to share passages from your current read over Facebook that you get with the Kindle and Kindle apps.  You also get to share, in detail, when you start reading a book, when you buy a book, when you annotate a book, etc.  You also get some measure of progress withing the book in terms of progress in the form of both percentage completed and total page turns.

What I found most intriguing, however, were the introduction of “awards” that you earn by reading and discovery of things within the substance of the book.  In Reading Life enabled books (making the untested assumption that you don’t get completely similar experiences from just any book you buy), you can keep track of where the action is taking place, or when you meet a character for the first time, and post these to your Facebook page as you read.  Sometimes this even results in coupons, to judge by what I’ve seen so far.  Coupons are always good, right?

Anyway, I like this as a general trend.  The big problem I see, however, is the heavy insistence on Facebook as the medium of choice.  I get that it’s pretty much the default for everybody wanting to do anything in any way with anybody these days, but that still means that the whole system is reliant on a single service that is completely outside the control of the app developers.  Now, I really don’t think Facebook is going anywhere any time soon(and whether or not that’s a good thing is up to every person to decide for themselves), but this strikes me as limiting. I would prefer to have some degree of linked networking inherent in the Kobo service that just piggybacked on existing Facebook features where applicable.  This would have the added benefit of making it easier, one would assume at least, to integrate the actual Kobo eReader along with any other apps all into a cohesive system.

Depending on how things go in the current Apple vs Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Anybody who sells eBooks situation in the near future, I can definitely see something similar popping up on the Kindle and Kindle apps as well as the Nook line.  If there’s anything that the gaming community has learned over the years, it’s that people love to be able to look at tangible progress and compare notes on who has achieved what and when.  I could honestly see this being used as a teaching tool under the right circumstances.  Let’s hope it takes off in some form.