Borders has recently announced their plans to carry the newly updated Kobo eReader when it is released. Some of you may remember a few months back when the Kobo created quite a stir among the eReader competitors by being priced in the ludicrously low $150 range. It was light weight, had a decent screen and expandable memory, and if the page turns were a bit slow at least the price made up for it! Then, of course, both the nook and the Kindle matched or beat that price a couple weeks later and the Kobo seemingly dropped off the radar as anything significant.
Well, apparently the company is hoping to turn things around this time. Their newly updated release will be focusing on two things. Namely, fixing the page turn delay that was really the bane of every eReader when it first started out and adding a way to grab books for your device without looking for a wire. The faster processor being boasted about should increase page turn speed noticeably, while the WiFi antenna(WiFi only, not cellular) will allow users to connect to their digital library easily. While there is no indication that the screen has been upgraded to the newest eInk configuration(the demo video on the site would seem to indicate that it has not been), we’re still in pre-order stages and nobody actually has on in hand to say for sure. They have followed Amazon’s(NASDAQ:AMZN) example and released a dark-cased choice as well as a version with a pinkish backing on a white case. I’m sure that’s important to some people.
So, why would somebody want the new Kobo, especially with it being priced to match the much more functional Kindle WiFi? In spite of the many places where Kobo comes up short, there are some redeeming factors. The most important of these to many people will be international availability. The Kindle has traditionally been a little bit harder to get your hands on in some areas, but the Kobo will be marketed directly at Australia, New Zealand, the UK, etc. The use of an open eBook format rather than Amazon’s proprietary setup is also rather important, as is the expandable memory. Will that outweigh better battery life, larger selection, a thinner form, better screen, greater functionality, etc.? Probably not for many, but you never know. This might be just what some people are looking for.