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Should Kindle be afraid of the $150 Kobo eReader?

Kobo eReader

It seems that new ebook device releases are not going to slow down anytime soon,  Wired is arguing that the Apple iPad will not be a Kindle killer. It’s in a different segment altogether. Instead, they’re saying that Jeff Bezos and the Amazon crew should be fearful of the Kobo eReader.

As a quick refresher, Kobo is a global eBook retailer with support from Chapters/Indigo, Borders, REDGroup Retail, and Cheung Kong Holidings. It already supports the major ebook readers (and smartphones) on the market, but it seems that Kobo wants some hardware of its own.

What you see here is the Kobo eReader and, from what we can tell, it’s going to be sold for a mere $150. That’s pretty darn cheap, considering that sure looks a lot like the more expensive Kindle. It has a similar e-ink display, plain white chassis, and long battery life.

There are some shortcomings at that price, of course. The $150 Kobo eReader does not have a 3G connection, for instance, relying instead on SD, USB or Bluetooth to get its content. There is only 1GB of storage, but you can expand with an SD card. For controls, you get that big blue directional pad on the front, but the rest of the buttons are tucked away on the left edge.

The Kobo eReader is cheap and effective, but I think the lack of 3G or atleast Wi-Fi could hurt its sales. The direct delivery model of the Amazon Kindle just seems so much more appealing.



About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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  1. I don’t have a problem with the lack of 3G connectivity. As it is, I have so many books on my computer that I will be reading for ages to get through them. Besides, if I had the ability to buy eBooks on the fly, I would likely buy stuff and never read it just because it looked good at the time. :)

  2. As a casual reader I think this is great. I wanted an ereader for awhile but i dont spend enough on books to justify the close to 300$ pricetag on most of the good ereaders.

    This is great. And I dont think the 3G is really an issue. I mean, when it can hold over 1000 books, when are you going to need 3G? If i want a new book, how far away from a computer am i going to be where I cant just transfer it via bluetooth from the computer or my droid phone for that matter.
    Also, I would have to add more data to my already expensive plan (for Canadians they are still too expensive) just to use the 3G.

    Good for the average user or someone wanting to try out an ereader.

  3. I am with you. Kobo eReader is cheaper and should be effective for certain types of e-reader users, but the lack of 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity is its big disadvantage. The direct delivery model of the Amazon Kindle just seems so much more appealing.

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