Nearly all the attention for reader-tablet hybrids goes to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but today the Toronto-based Kobo is making a compelling case for their share of the market. The company announced three new tablets: the Arc 7, Arc 7HD, and Arc 10HD, set for release on October 16th. The three models are roughly analogous to the latest Kindle Fire, Fire HD, and Fire HD 8.9, but they've got two distinct advantages: they run Android 4.2.2, and they've got access to the Google Play Store.
The Kobo Arc 7 (above) is the baby of the family, but it isn't a bad piece of hardware for the price. With a 7-inch, 1024x600 screen, a MTK 1.2Ghz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage, it's pretty competitive for the $149.99 MSRP. The Arc 7HD (below) steps things up a notch with a 1920x1200 screen that matches the new Nexus 7 pixel for pixel, a Tegra 3 processor, and 1GB of RAM. It also adds a 1.3MP front-facing camera and 8 hours of quoted battery life. The Arc 7HD will go for $199.99 with 8GB of storage or $249.99 with 16GB.
ON the high end of Kobo's new spectrum lies the Arc 10HD. This tablet competes with the biggest and baddest Android hardware currently available. The screen is 10 inches and 2560x1600, the processor is an NVIDIA Tegra 4 paired to 2GB of RAM, and it uses a 1.3MP front-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0, and Miracast video streaming. Though the hardware is impressive, at $399.99 the Arc 10HD is still a tough sell next to the Nexus 10, unless you're already invested in Kobo's book and media offerings. All three new tablets use a black design that looks like it's inspired by the old F-117 Nighthawk bomber: all angles and geometry. It's a neat look that's certainly more interesting than the older Arc and Vox tablets, though potentially more divisive.
The company is highlighting its Beyond the Book feature, which scans books for topics and aggregates web content that fits within that scope. Featured Collections will use content that's hand-picked by Kobo editors. Kobo is also launching new sections of its content store for magazines and children's books, which will be available on the standard Android and iOS apps as well.
Kobo is unlikely to make significant headway against Amazon or B&N in the near future, but it's clear that they intend to stay in this fight for the long haul. It will be interesting to see how the continuing expansion of the Play Store affects the low end of the tablet market.
TORONTO, Aug. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kobo, a global leader in eReading, today announced its new lineup of eReading devices, featuring the new Kobo Aura 6" E Ink eReader and the Google-certified Kobo Arc 10HD and two Kobo Arc 7 tablets. Designed for Readers, the new lineup is built on Kobo's unique user experience, Reading Life, enabling the collection, curation and discovery of content, delivering on the company's promise to put reading first.
"Kobo remains focused on Reading; a time-honoured passion that keeps people informed, lets them escape, learn about new cultures, see things from a new perspective, travel back in time, and imagine new worlds," said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. "With magazines joining our eBookstore, a new kids experience, and the best eReading devices possible, we will help Readers find more of what they love – taking them beyond the book."
To best showcase the company's world-class bookstore with 4-million titles, which now includes magazines and a dedicated Kids Store, the NVIDIA®-powered Kobo Arc 10HD and Kobo Arc 7HD tablets offer beautiful and responsive high definition displays and uncompromised access to Android™ 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and the Google Play™ Store. With Reading Life, Kobo's reading-first user experience, Readers can discover more of the content they're interested in with new ways to organize and curate collections of eBooks, magazines and other multimedia content from across the Web including movies, music and games. Kobo's new Reading Mode feature eliminates distracting notifications and pop-ups from email, apps and social media, optimizes the lighting settings, and extends the tablet battery life from hours to days.
For Readers who prefer a dedicated reading experience, Kobo has created the beautiful Kobo Aura 6" E Ink eReader, which boasts a stunning edge-to-edge, high-resolution (212 dpi) display. The Kobo Aura leverages a new low-flash screen technology to virtually eliminate ghosting and page refresh for the best book-like reading experience, and holds up to 3,000 books and lasts more than two months on a single charge. Plus, for the first time ever, Readers can now send articles and webpages to read on their E Ink devices through the company's partnership with Pocket.
Across its new lineup of eReading tablets and E Ink eReaders, Kobo is helping Readers discover more of the content they're interested in with the company's all-new Beyond the Book experience, which highlights key topics within a book and provides aggregated content from across the Web known as Collections. To share Kobo's own passion for discovering great reading materials, Featured Collections are personalized with Kobo's own editorial voice as well as respected influencers including authors, publishers, and other notable people who are experts in their field.
THE BEST HIGH-DEFINITION TABLETS FOR READERS – COMING OCTOBER 16
KOBO ARC 10HD
Kobo Arc 10HD celebrates reading with Kobo's Reading Life platform, a compelling reading dashboard that is part of the user interface, with full access to the content people love to consume including books, magazines, news, and social media. With an NVIDIA® Tegra® 4 1.8GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, the Kobo Arc 10HD tablet is the best 10-inch HD Google-certified multimedia tablet on the market today for Readers. The Kobo Arc 10HD tablet boasts a stunning 2560x1600 high-definition display with up to 1080p video playback, making it the perfect companion to enjoy the rich content from Kobo's bookstore like magazines, as well as the 1-million+ games and apps from the Google Play Store. The Kobo Arc 10HD tablet also includes a front-facing 1.3 MP HD camera, dual stereo speakers, WiFi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.0, and Miracast connectivity support for Wi Fi media streaming. With Reading Mode, the battery life is extended from 9.5 hours to more than 10 days. Available in black, the Kobo Arc 10HD retails for $399.99 MSRP.
KOBO ARC 7" TABLETS
The Kobo Arc 7HD tablet leverages the beautifully designed Reading Life platform that makes collecting, curating, and discovering content easier for Readers.
The Kobo Arc 7HD tablet is powered by the NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 1.7GHz quad-core processor and 1920x1200 display with up to 1080p video playback delivering a crisp, seamless viewing experience. The HD tablet has a 1GB of RAM, a front-facing 1.3 MP HD camera, and a battery that lasts up to 8 hours so readers are never at a loss for words. Available in black, the Kobo Arc 7HD retails for $199.99 MSRP with 16GB and $249.99 MSRP with 32GB.
For those Readers new to tablets, Kobo is offering the Kobo Arc 7, perfect for first-time users and families. With a 1024X600 display, MTK 8125 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM, the Kobo Arc 7 offers Readers a compact, multimedia tablet for reading and entertainment on the go. The Kobo Arc 7 retails for $149.99 MSRP with 8GB.