Kobo outs second-gen Arc tablet and two ereaders
6th Sep 2012 | 06:30
Kindle Fire rival announced before Kindle Fire 2
Canadian ereader brand Kobo has unveiled three new devices including its second-gen tablet, the Arc.
A seven-inch, 364g tablet running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and confirmed for sale 'in time for Christmas', the Arc features a colour touchscreen and access to any app from Google Play.
Despite that, Kobo is keen to point out that this is reading-centric device whose specially developed new user interface – called the Tapestries Discovery Edition – is carefully designed to fetch reading material from across the web (as well as from Kobo's ebook store).
It learns what you read, from whatever source, and automatically presents 'we think you'll like' content.
For now it operates over WiFi only, though a 3G version could follow. A 1.6GHz dual core processor is on board, as well as a battery that's rated to do for ten hours of reading, or ten hours of video playback with WiFi switched off.
The Arc's IPS LCD touchscreen features a resolution of 1280x800 that translates to 215 dots per inch, as well as a front-facing camera and – unusually – front-facing stereo speakers on the device's front, complete with an SRSTruMedia booster.
Available in two guises – 8GB (£159.99) and 16GB (£189.99) – the Arc will be sold in with either a black or white fascia, while snap-on blue or purple back-plates will also be available.
For those who still think tablets are for anything but reading, Kobo has also launched two touchscreen E-Ink devices that address specific problems. The Glo (£99.99, and due in November) is a cute 185g six-incher with a resolution of 1024x768 resolution, 2GB of brains (as well as a microSD card slot) and Wi-Fi. Its star feature is – you've guessed it – some nifty lighting for when a lamp just seems so, well, analogue.
Called ComfortLight, when activated this LED side-illumination evenly distributes soft light across the screen. The Glo comes in four colours named on a not-so-complicated theme; Black Night, Pink Sunset, Blue Moon and Silver Star.
Lastly comes the Mini - we reckon a trick has been missed by not calling it the littlest Kobo - a shirt pocket-sized E-Ink display that's just five inches in diameter.
Weighing 134g, and with 2GB storage and WiFi, the Mini has a soft, tactile bezel, and thus seems destined for handbags, though we do wonder whether it's too close in size to a smartphone for serious unit-shifting.
It's going on sale in October for £59.99 in black or white, with swap-out covers in Ruby Red, Purple, and Teal.
Available exclusively through WH Smths in the UK, Kobo provides apps for both Android and iOS devices.
Acquired by Japanese company Rakuten in January this year, Kobo has been selling ebook readers since 2009. At three million titles – over a third of which are free – Kobo has one of the biggest ebook libraries, and around 10 million users.