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Kobo To Release Android Tablet E-Reader

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the cute-name-at-least dept.

Android 80

First time accepted submitter Alt-kun writes "Like Amazon last month, Kobo is now making the jump to an Android-based tablet e-reader. Priced at $200 and available on October 28th, the Kobo Vox is set to complete with the Kindle Fire rather than the iPad. While Kobo can't match up with Amazon's sheer mass of available content, it is partnered with various major book sellers and has a good-sized base of existing customers. Also, previous Kobo products have made a point of supporting open standards for media, and that will presumably continue with the Vox. For those who aren't familiar with Kobo: they have little presence in the US, but their e-readers are fairly popular in Canada, Australia, and a number of other countries."

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80 comments

complete nonsense (3, Funny)

mpweasel (539631) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806358)

When completitors complete, conslumers win!

Custom Service (2)

moggie_xev (695282) | more than 2 years ago | (#37808222)

Kobo have excellent customer service. I bought one for my son when I was in the states last year.
My son broke the screen, I told Kobo that it was broken because of misuse and they still replaced it. Paying for both parts of the international shipping. If they where selling them to the UK or I was popping over soon I would buy a Vox.
Kobo make good open standards systems. Maybe a little fragile and cheap feeling but they are cheap and have great customer service.

Re:complete nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37808316)

I am Chinese student. I spitted my lice when i lead this. How can it not has "Funny" warning symbol? My notebook PC has lice all ober now.

Were difficult to obtain in Australia ... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806362)

... but as of last week one of the electronics retail chains started selling them.

Re:Were difficult to obtain in Australia ... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807420)

They were previously only available from Angus & Robertson and Borders. Both of those went bust so they had to find a new supplier.

Re:Were difficult to obtain in Australia ... (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37809070)

Citation not only needed, but wanted.

Eh, wassamatayu? a link or sumptin'?

Oh, and BTW, "Let The Hacking Begin"!

Re:Were difficult to obtain in Australia ... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37809114)

I should have written that JB Hifi and probably a few other places are now selling the touch and wifi versions but not the new one yet. Since the touch took over a year to get here don't expect the new one just yet.
There's been some limited wifi and touch hacking and the details of how to actually write to the framebuffer and put stuff on the screen of the touch have apparently just come out.

Not a great endorsement (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806378)

While Kobo can't match up with Amazon's sheer mass of available content, it is partnered with various major book sellers and has a good-sized base of existing customers.

Unless their goal is simply to sell Android-based readers to their existing customers, this doesn't seem like a recipe for success. Why would anyone pick this over the Kindle Fire?

Also, previous Kobo products have made a point of supporting open standards for media, and that will presumably continue with the Vox.

I can see why that would attract the Slashdot crowd (seriously). But, again, that's not something that'll bring in a bunch of new customers - it doesn't matter in the least to the vast majority of people.

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806538)

Because you can't actually buy a Kindle Fire outside the US. There's a big reason for everyone in the rest of the world!

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807498)

I'm pretty sure that outside the US still has eBay [ebay.com]. The world is shifting to a global market thanks to places like eBay where localized products can be arbitraged for a nominal fee. That's how we in the US get access to the thousands [ebay.com] of Android tablets built and marketed for third world markets when we don't live there.

It's one world now. If you have the cash and Internet access you can have anything sold anywhere in the world delivered reliably and quickly to you in any place that has delivery services. The world is turning in to one huge bazaar. To steal a quote from R.A.H., "anything in the explored universe can be had by a man with cash, from a starship to ten grains of stardust, from the ruin of a reputation to the robes of a senator with the senator inside."

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807598)

And then if you want to buy any content on it, you need to hook up a VPN to make it look like you're coming from the US since the store the Fire's connected to doesn't work in most of the rest of the world (like say, Canada). Which for the overwhelming majority is far too much of a PITA to be worth the hassle.

If you're outside the US I haven't seen much of anything that would say the Fire's better then the Kobo Vox (or other cheaper Android tablets).

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807970)

If you believe that then I doubt you've lived for a significant time outside the US.

US products that aren't sold outside the US are replaced by equivalent products that are sold there, not by desperate attempts to get the exact same thing the Americans have. There's no advantage and huge disadvantages to trying to buy a Kindle Fire (now with no huge array of content backing it!) when you could get this instead.

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37808036)

>If you believe that then I doubt you've lived for a significant time outside the US.

Good point.

Why is that's material I ask. A thing is what it is, wherever it is. Moving it to your house or mine doesn't change it.

Re:Not a great endorsement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37808640)

People have said it, but I guess you haven't read it...

Get an Amazon Fire and you are limited to buying US-only content through the Amazon app store. That's all well and good if you're a US resident, but the US is a minority population (albeit the loudest). If you live outside the US you can't buy anything in the Amazon app store which makes the Kindle Fire an expensive paperweight.

A bog-standard Android tablet for the same price is much more useful because regardless of where you live you can buy content for it through the regular Android Market app store or any one of a number of competing marketplaces.

Amazon have been making noises about opening-up their app store to non-US residents, but so far it's only been noises.

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37853416)

An Amazon fire costs $200. It has 3G. With it you can buy any thing that is your heart's desire, from a waffle maker to a Caribbean island. You can do this any hour of the day or night, no matter where you are. If you're like me you can use it to buy the exact same tool you have "somewhere in the garage" faster than you could find the actual thing you already own.

Connect it to the right credit card and it's the ultimate bitch-slap to some jerk trying to sell you something at over 2x cost.

Well worth the money. At two benjamins, you could do worse even if you never read an ebook.

Less US-centrism maybe? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806592)

Because if you're in Canada the Kindle Fire isn't available and even if you get one anyway has no content available? Amazon in Canada is a pretty pathetic shadow of it's US version.

The Kobo on the other hand has a pretty strong seller in Indigo books and has content. It's all right there in the summary about the Kobo stuff being targetted more internationally. Just because someone in the US wouldn't want one doesn't mean anything on the rest of the planet.

Re:Less US-centrism maybe? (1)

Camaro (13996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806786)

Agree completely. First I wanted a Nook Color. Sorry, not in Canada. Then I wanted a Kindle Fire. Sorry, not in Canada. If Kobo can get this thing selling in Canada, they might just get my hard earned money just to save me jumping through fire-ringed hoops to get one of the others.

Re:Less US-centrism maybe? (1)

Rotting (7243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37809002)

Agree completely. First I wanted a Nook Color. Sorry, not in Canada. Then I wanted a Kindle Fire. Sorry, not in Canada. If Kobo can get this thing selling in Canada, they might just get my hard earned money just to save me jumping through fire-ringed hoops to get one of the others.

I would assume the Canadian company Kobo would be selling this in Canada ;)

You have basically described my situation in the past regarding the Nook and now the Kindle Fire. Even if I get the Fire when it comes out, it would be severely lacking in content so the Kobo offering is much more appealing to me.

Re:Less US-centrism maybe? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37808066)

Because if you're in Canada the Kindle Fire isn't available and even if you get one anyway has no content available? Amazon in Canada is a pretty pathetic shadow of it's US version.

The Kobo on the other hand has a pretty strong seller in Indigo books and has content. It's all right there in the summary about the Kobo stuff being targetted more internationally. Just because someone in the US wouldn't want one doesn't mean anything on the rest of the planet.

And Kobo knows it. That's why they produce the crappiest e-readers on the market - because they know that if you're not in the US (and Kobo has a token presence there), you're stuck with them.

(And crappy in every bad way - the UI sucks, the hardware sucks, etc).

Yes, I'm in Canada. The best way to get a nook though is to drive across the border and pick one up. If you have a US address (doesn't need to be billing - just a US address) you can even buy books in Canada as well.

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806702)

Unless their goal is simply to sell Android-based readers to their existing customers, this doesn't seem like a recipe for success. Why would anyone pick this over the Kindle Fire?

Because you can install the Kindle app onto it, and thus it does everything the Kindle Fire does and more? And for those outside the US, there's the chance you might even be able to buy it!

Re:Not a great endorsement (2)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806794)

Kobo's books are sold in ePub format, which means you can put them on a lot of different devices without having to convert them. Moreover, in Canada, there are licensing problems that Kobo doesn't seem to have.

Lastly, Kobo's books tend to be cheaper for the same thing. I've bought books from Kobo that cost me $1 or $2 that would have cost me $5-10 if I had a Kindle.

Kobo's a better book store; Amazon-Kindle is arguably a better contained system.

But both the Fire and the Vox are stupid devices. I bought an eReader for the eInk display. If I want to burn my eyes reading content, I'll do it on my iPhone or desktop computer. :/

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

sateh (467083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807144)

"""Kobo's books are sold in ePub format, which means you can put them on a lot of different devices without having to convert them. Moreover, in Canada, there are licensing problems that Kobo doesn't seem to have."""

Yeah this is not exactly true; Kobo uses EPUB with their own proprietary DRM on top of it. I know this because I have worked on that code.

(There is no DRM standard for EPUB so all ebook sellers use their own weird standard. What Adobe does with EPUBs is also not a standard. They love to call it that but it really is not.)

It basically comes down to this: you can read your Kobo purchased books on any Kobo device or on a device that supports Adobe EPUBs, like the Sony e-Readers.

There is however no way to grab the EPUB, unzip it and read the HTML. That is because Kobo has to deal with the same DRM requirements as Apple or Amazon.

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807512)

Kobo uses EPUB with their own proprietary DRM on top of it.

It's pretty easy to strip that right off. Apparently, it wasn't very secure DRM.

I know this because I have worked on that code.

Oops. Sorry, I hope I didn't offend.

But by the way, weren't there any jobs available at labs that test biological weapons on bunnies and puppies?

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807870)

Kobo uses Adobe Digital Editions DRM. It's trivial to strip off. Just google "ineptepub" and you'll find an easy solution.

Re:Not a great endorsement (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37809700)

It's an open android tablet. Install the FBReader app and you can download and read free ebooks to your hearts content. (No need to get out the USB cable like I have to with my Nook.) You can also install the Amazon MP3, Kindle, or Nook App, so you can purchase stuff from whomever. This announcement has certainly piqued my interest.

Specs (4, Informative)

Xgamer4 (970709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806386)

The article was all-around useless for the stuff that actually mattered. So here's a link to the specs page for the device on their official website:
http://www.kobobooks.com/kobovox_tech [kobobooks.com]

Most important:
Device Size 192.4 mm X 128.4 mm (7.57 in. 5.06 in.)
Device Depth 13.4 mm (0.53 in.)
Weight 402.6 g (14.2 oz.)
Diagonal Display Size 7" FFS+ multimedia display; 1024 x 600 resolution
Screen Qualities Multi-touch screen with exceptional +/- 89 viewing angle
Processor 800 Mhz; 512 RAM
Operating System Full open access to Android 2.3
Storage 8GB of internal storage, holds 8,000 books** and unlimited Kobo eBook cloud storage
Memory Expansion Option to add a 32 GB SD Memory Card
Battery Life 7 hours***

Re:Specs (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806554)

Capacitive or Resistive?

Re:Specs (1)

Graemee (524726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37809162)

Capacitive. Not IR or Passive. They really are trying a different approach to the device as "social" reading. While the Fire is more a media device, for the US. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiRxIXytLYQ [youtube.com] The only thing I'm concerned about is the Android Market. While they say it's a full and open android device. I suspect they have their own Android store and will have limited you to apps they allow. Whether you can sideload the Kindle app on to it needs to be seen.

Browsing without tracking (2)

bartyboy (99076) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806770)

From what I've read, the browser doesn't display pages pre-rendered by Indigo/Chapters. It will be slower to show pages than the Kindle Fire, but this is a HUGE plus to anyone who doesn't wish to be tracked by the people who sold them the tablet. Given that both units are $200, the choice just got a lot easier to make.

Re:Browsing without tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37834938)

Or you could, you know, just turn off the option to proxy through Amazon's servers in Silk.

Re:Specs (2)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807558)

The article was all-around useless for the stuff that actually mattered. So here's a link to the specs page for the device on their official website:

http://www.kobobooks.com/kobovox_tech [kobobooks.com]

Most important:

It's a matter of perspective. For example, you list the features you consider the "most important", but to me they're mostly fluff. Only two of the specs you listed (OS and battery) mattered to me.

Also important to me:
Wireless Connectivity--Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Micro USB*
Supported File Formats--Books: ePUB, including fixed layout and enhanced ePUB. Images: JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP Audio: MP3, AAC, .3gp, mp4, m4a, flac, ogg, wav, mid. Video Formats: 3gp, mp4, webm
Web Browsing--Open Web browsing
Utilities--Email (POP, IMAP, Microsoft® ActiveSync support), Address Book and Calendar

Defeats the Purpose (4, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806388)

The Kindle Fire and the Kobo Vox, while being far more versatile than previous models, completely miss the point of an ebook reader. If I wanted to read books on an LCD screen constantly stabbing my eyes with a bright backlight, I'd read on my Android tablet, or my laptop. The reason I bought one of the first gen Kobo ereaders is because of the e-ink screen.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806424)

Exactly. I have a classic wi-fi nook and you couldn't pay me to read books on an LCD screen over eink.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806430)

Not to mention having to charge an LCD device at least daily. I get a good two weeks of reading out of my Kobo.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806466)

And you could buy Amazon's books, and change their format (dont tell the bad guys), and then read it on my Kobo device.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806484)

I think the angle here is that these devices ARE low-cost Android Tablets, with e-reading being only one of their capabilities. Companies are looking to capitalize on a wider market than just books -- we're talking every form of digital media here: movies, songs, etc. at a price point that is lower than most tablets.

Reading an e-book on an LCD with a backlight isn't really all that painful -- I've been using my iPod touch as a portable e-reader for the past several years and have never had any problems. But then again I only read on the bus/train, and my commute is less than an hour long, so eye-strain isn't a problem.

E-ink is great in theory, but its refresh rate is too low for video and the lack of color is a deal-breaker for most children's books. I own a Kindle 3, but I don't use it very much these days. This is not to say it isn't useful (I think it is, for hardcore readers who spend hours on a book). But the demographic that only wants an e-reader and nothing else is a smaller than the demographic that wants a complete media slab. I can see teens, for instance, preferring a color LCD to an e-ink reader, simply because they can consume more forms of media on a display that isn't disgustingly ugly for anything other than books.

An LCD screen is "good-enough" as an e-reader. And in the marketplace, "good-enough" is usually good enough. Unless Pixel Qi or someone else comes up with something reasonably cheap and good, I think low-cost tablets are going to outsell E-ink readers.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807594)

Unless Pixel Qi or someone else comes up with something reasonably cheap and good, I think low-cost tablets are going to outsell E-ink readers.

I hope "someone else" does a better job bringing something to market than Pixel Qi.

Although I see that some small outfit called "3M" bought up Pixel Qi. Well, let's hope you're "someone else" gets a move on, because I don't think we'll hear anything more from Pixel Qi.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37815870)

E-ink is great in theory, but its refresh rate is too low for video and the lack of color is a deal-breaker for most children's books.

The sort of children's books with colour illustrations tend to be quite large format anyway, and hence wouldn't really work on a small e-reader in the first place.

Also, who needs video in a book reader? Again, the screen is too small to watch anything much. You might as well complain that ebook readers don't cope with graphically intense FPS games very well.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806640)

If I wanted to read books on an LCD screen constantly stabbing my eyes with a bright backlight, I'd read on my Android tablet, or my laptop.

If I wanted to read books on an LCD screen constantly stabbing my eyes with a bright backlight, I would turn up the backlight too high -- you do know that's adjustable, right? If OTOH you turn it down to the same level as the reflected light from an e-ink screen, you get the same low (but wholly adequate for text) contrast, and the same low eyestrain..

E-ink certainly has benefits (battery life, sunlight performance), but you can only claim reduced eyestrain if you insist on misconfiguring the backlit display.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807548)

Better yet, use the night mode of white text on black background - that is what I have done with several Android tablets as ereaders (for hours). So that is not a problem for me, and lets me read at night in bed without a glaring clip-on light such as I tried a few times on a Sony PRS-600 - never could get the angle right to keep the reflection out of my eyes, and it lit up the whole bedroom to boot (wife not appreciative).

Also, since I live in a house with electricity on a regular basis, I have no problem leaving devices plugged in overnight to be charged up for the next day ;-}

Of course, YMMV

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806652)

Yep, I just wonder if it really needs to cost $380 (or whatever the DMX runs) for a decently sized eink display.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806714)

You can't get full color magazines and comic books or video on an e-ink screen. You can't get video either. These aren't really e-readers, per se. A better name would be content consumption devices. If you've already got a tablet (say an iPad) and can stand the LCD screen, these won't do anything for you. But if you don't have one and don't want to pay for one, this is a nice option.

I've got the Nook and the Nook Color and I use them for completely different purposes. The Nook Color is essentially an android tablet set up as a reading appliance. It's great for 'reading' when you're not just looking at straight up text, but have visuals and otherwise want to navigate the content.

I'm waiting for the Nook Color 2. It's supposed to have a hybrid e-ink/lcd screen (whatever that means). Of course, the last one was rumored to have a color e-ink screen and it was actually LCD, so we'll see what happens.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37808060)

Where did anything say that eink readers were being replaced by these? AFAICT they're just new entries into their product lines.

Re:Defeats the Purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37816168)

Kindle Fire is not an ereader and it is not being marketed that way

Re:Defeats the Purpose (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#37818430)

Wrong. It doesn't defeat the purpose because that's not the purpose of these devices. The problem is that their niche doesn't work for you.

When iPad owners look at the Nook Color and the Fire and the Vox, all they see is a cheep, featureless tablet. "Why would anybody want that tiny screen?" When Kindle owners look at them, all they see is an ebook reader with an LCD screen. "But e-ink won't give you eye strain!" When smartphone owners look at them, all they see is an enormous screen size. "That big, and it can't even make phone calls!"

In reality, this is a hybrid device, perfect for someone like me. Access to tons of media, not just books. The same size as some of my paperback books.

The purpose is not to just read books. You're exactly right - we have e-ink for that. Instead, the purpose is to access all sorts of media, including books.
The purpose is not to be fully mobile like a cell phone. It's too big. But, it's still a smaller form factor so it'll fit into a suit pocket or purse.
The purpose is not to be a full, powerful tablet computer. It's too small, and doesn't have the connectivity and other features. Then again, that cuts down on the price to a very reasonable $200.

In comparison, an iPad is a bulky, expensive alternative. A smartphone is too small to work with. And an e-ink display is too limiting. I'd say these devices fulfill their purpose quite well.

Meh, Kobo (1)

Artifex (18308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806450)

Borders Books' ebooks were powered by Kobo, but they weren't a huge name to the end user, I think. Before now their main competition, which they couldn't beat, was actually the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. It'll be interesting to see if they can differentiate themselves enough with this new self-branded tablet to get people to choose them over the Kindle and Nook lines. As it is, however, Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Kobo, and Aldiko (yet another bookseller) all have reader apps on Android, as does Google itself. Since it's quite annoying to try to keep up with books stored in multiple competing flavors of EPUB and Adobe DRM, if they're not compelling, they're just going to get lost.

P.S. Don't even get me started on iBooks by Apple. That's going down the same proprietary reader path that Sony took. They probably have a huge following among people who already own their portable hardware, but they lock you into that hardware; they don't even have a reader for their own computers.

Meh (3)

grantpalin (1994704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806494)

As an owner of the 2nd-gen Kobo (WiFi+USB), I'm not feeling at all interested in this new device. I love the e-ink display on my reader, and the fact it can go weeks without a charge. I don't need a bigger and heavier device to do the same thing.

Re:Meh (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806644)

As an owner of the 2nd-gen Kobo (WiFi+USB) [...] I don't need a bigger and heavier device to do the same thing.

It wont do the same thing, though, because it has an LCD not an eink screen!

Re:Meh (1)

grantpalin (1994704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806738)

Well, for the purpose of _reading_, there's no extra benefit. I don't need multimedia etc on the same device as my reader, so an LCD screen adds nothing for me.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807542)

Well, for the purpose of _reading_, there's no extra benefit. I don't need multimedia etc on the same device as my reader, so an LCD screen adds nothing for me.

Color perhaps?

Re:Meh (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37815900)

Well, for the purpose of _reading_, there's no extra benefit. I don't need multimedia etc on the same device as my reader, so an LCD screen adds nothing for me.

Color perhaps?

Most adults don't read colour picture books.

Re:Meh (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807822)

Yep, I agree. The worst part is that, I bet, barebones, they could put out a 10" $200 kobo if it used eink and didn't mess with all the other crud.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37808468)

LCDs are better for reference texts; it's nearly impossible to do anything other than read a book straight from start to end on an eink reader. Good for comics too. So there is reading benefit.

I agree that it's not a good enough justification personally, but I can see some people wanting it.

Get screwed - now for only $200! (1)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806520)

Another product that will force you to reduce your reading to what one particular vendor thinks is good for you. Who in the world is buying this crap?

Re:Get screwed - now for only $200! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806954)

Unlike Amazon, Kobo devices have excellent support for "sideload" content. Kobo eReader and Touch work fantastic with Calibre, including the news downloads Calibre supports. I regularly buy ebooks from PragProg and InformIT, and it is a direct transfer to the device, none of this "email it to our servers and we will recode it for our device" crap. So your sentiment may be true for people who grab the Kindle devices, who are locked in to Amazon's ecology; the Kobo devices are not handicapped by that.

Re:Get screwed - now for only $200! (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807442)

Calibre does all of that for the Kindle too. As long as there's no DRM, it converts ePub into .mobi in the background.

Re:Get screwed - now for only $200! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806998)

What are you talking about?? Kobo has always supported open formats. Shoving an SD card into a Kobo with PDFs and ePUBs works perfectly.

Re:Get screwed - now for only $200! (1)

grantpalin (1994704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807248)

The Kobo uses ePub, which is an open format I believe. Yes you can make purchases directly from the Kobo store, but you can also sideload content from other sources. I have purchased ebooks from Sitepoint, O'Reilly, and Manning and read the ePub editions on my Kobo without issue. It's even possible to purchase Kindle-formatted content, and convert to ePub using the likes of Calibre.

Re:Get screwed - now for only $200! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807794)

I can do:
mount /dev/sde /mnt/kobo
cp *.{epub,txt,pdf} /mnt/kobo
umount /mnt/kobo

Easy as pie, and my (DRM-free) ebooks are copied magically, I can also let Calibre do that for me.

No restrictions there, the PDF handling, is a tad cruede I'll admit, but it works, and as far as reading books in epub format, the e-ink is king.

As far as content, as people have highlighted, pretty much any Adobe DRM ePUB e-books (which is a fair proportion of DRM-added ebooks, that are not from Amazon), are supported by Kobo's, including the Kobo bookstore, the NZ Kobo distributor's bookshop (who actually sell a choice between the Kobo and the Sony e-Readers), and a lot of other sites, not only that, but I can rent ePUB format books from my local city library who provide the service via Overdrive.com (free rental for up to 28 days, max 10 books at a time).

So yes, I am buying this crap (as you put it), because it actually uses a good (open) ebook format, it supports a reasonably liberal DRM, I can buy content from just about anywhere, and my version at least as an e-ink screen. Kindle lost me (at the time) because of all bar the last.

Re:Get screwed - now for only $200! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37808688)

Easy as pie, and my (DRM-free) ebooks are copied magically

I see what you did there, Steve.

Re:Get screwed - now for only $200! (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37810874)

I download fanfic, convert it to .epub format using calibre, and put it on my ancient, first-generation kobo. It's a much better reading experience than on my desktop computer. No walled garden. The only problem is that a lot of fanfic is available only in very ugly HTML. Can't blame that on the kobo, though.

-- hendrik

Choose your censor (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807878)

By definition the library you go to limits your scope to the books on hand or available. This library limits you far less than a physical library that only has the books it has. They do so for well-defined reaons in their charter.

Ebooks do away with this. You can get uncensored works in their original from the source. How is this a bad thing?

Re:Choose your censor (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37809724)

For works that are still covered by copyright, the library has a much larger collection. True, I have access to a library in a major city, but there are a lot of titles that aren't available in ebook format. I'm not sure what is taking so long.

Afraid I believe you may be wrong (1)

LandGator (625199) | more than 2 years ago | (#37899606)

The Kobo readers natively read the open EPUB format, IIRC. Plus, since it runs Gingerbread, you could run any e-reader app from any market or Android author. Therefore, why do you think Kobo will restrict your content?

I'm reading books on an Android tablet now (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806630)

I have a Galaxy Tab here. I installed Foliant [quixey.com] on it, and this is perfect for reading books. I like the LCD with the backlight, and I never liked e-ink screens. If Kobo makes yet another tablet then it's fine, but they are competing in a cutthroat market. There doesn't seem to be much of a difference, in principle, between the Galaxy Tab and the Kobo product. It's the software that does the work - and you can use any software you like.

Re:I'm reading books on an Android tablet now (1)

Stonefish (210962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807000)

Never like or never used. Forgive the misspelling I'm writing this from a laptop near a pool and the text is nearly invisible, especially with polarised sunglasses. E-ink on the other hand is near perfect in the sun its just slow.
I recently lend an e-ink device to someone who was an avid ipod lover to take on a holidays and needed to go a week without charging his device. He's now bought one and finally understands that they are currently separate markets.
I do a lot of reading and rarely play the puerile games that are so that may be a diferentiating factor.

Re:I'm reading books on an Android tablet now (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807084)

I'm writing this from a laptop near a pool and the text is nearly invisible

You are probably right that most wars between the e-ink and the LCD are waged over a rift in usage scenarios. I personally read books in bed, before going to sleep. The lights in the room are off, and the Galaxy Tab (as well as my other tablet) have the correct backlight setting for that. I wouldn't like a bright light either. What I want is a good contrast and quick screen redraws. E-ink is bad on both accounts. As an experiment I just took the Galaxy Tab outside and set to the maximum brightness. Under direct sunlight the screen is a bit washed out, but if I put it into my own shadow then it's perfect.

With regard to the "going for a week without power" - I don't know what kind of cave he lived in, in what wilderness - with candle light perhaps? Most people are always within a few feet from the power; if not at their home or office then at least in their car. I recharge the tablet during the day, and reading for several hours, with WiFi on (to check my email) is not seriously draining the battery. Edge cases like your friend are immaterial; there is always someone that needs something special.

I have no idea what games one could play on a tablet - the games that I might be interested in require considerably more CPU, something like PS3 :-)

Re:I'm reading books on an Android tablet now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37808080)

I have no idea what games one could play on a tablet - the games that I might be interested in require considerably more CPU, something like PS3 :-)

I have no idea what games one could play on a PS3 - the games that I might be interested in require considerably more CPU, something like i7 :-)

Re:I'm reading books on an Android tablet now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37808368)

"Never like or never used"?

Oh shut it, you e-ink fanboys are so annoying. Seriously, I HAVE A FUCKING KINDLE. But I actually PREFER reading Kindle books on the rooted NOOK COLOR I picked up in Boston. I've continued to enjoy reading many books on my Nook Color whilst my fucking kindle has fallen down the crack between my bed and my bedroom wall some weeks ago and I can't be arsed to fish it out.

So yes for some of us the LCD experience is entirely more enjoyable than e-ink.

Canadian Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806752)

This is a much more appealing device here in Canada because the Kindle Fire presently has no release date, and the Kobo licensing agreements here make its e-book store actually *better* than the Kindle store.

E-Ink not LCD (1)

Stonefish (210962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806816)

Any E-book reader needs e-ink. I've been given an Ipad for work and while its a nice toy... its a toy. It not small enough to fit in my pocket, it sucks for reading work related documents, however its great for games and ok for magazine type content. Really WTF are organisations blowing their cash on these things? Here's a tip companies and government organisations that buy these devices should be slashing their IT budgets and giving the money back to shareholders.
If I wanted an ipad-kindle hybrid it need both the lcd screen and the e-ink screen and would magically sense which way is up and present content based upon its orientation. The reason that this hasn't been occurring is that the screens are the most expensive component.

ps I actually want a full size e-ink screen for reading documents so that printing is not needed at work if anyone with any actual decision making authority reads /.

Re:E-Ink not LCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807604)

If your documents have much in the way of graphics, you won't find eInk very useful for them. I have a Sony PRS-950 with 7-inch 1024x600 screen (as the Kobo Vox will have, and the current Nook Color has), and it just cannot handle images of that sort satisfactorily without lots of zooming and and scrolling, which are slow operations on eInk compared to LCD's. For straight text reading such as fiction, and in adequate lighting conditions, the eInk is nicer, but I have found LCD's with the reader program set to night mode with white text on black works quite well for me (no clip-on light at night needed to fiddle with to keep the glare out of my eyes), and the greater reading and other application versatility makes a lot more sense for my usages.

The only other advantage with most eInk readers is their generally comparative lightness compared to most 7-inch and and all larger tablets for prolonged reading - aggravates my carpal tunnel big time to exert the extra effort to hold the heavier LCD devices. But I found that a 5-6 ounce Archos 5 and Dell Streak 5 pretty much neutralize that difference, and let me have the LCD's other advantages.

Oh, and I live in a house with electricity, so charging overnight takes care of my usage the next day just fine. And no, I do not camp out, or spend a lot of time in the sun since I am just not the outdoorsy type, so those "requirements" are not an issue for me at least - YMMV.

melissa (-1, Offtopic)

kontrakurt (2476808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806876)

For a long time working on birth control pills, HIV-positive women were found to have a higher risk of transmitting AIDS. http://blog.healthvidyo.com/health-insurance/health-insurance.html [healthvidyo.com] President of the University of Washington research undertaken in Africa, HIV-infected women who are taking oral contraceptives and hormone injections AIDS infection risk is higher than that of women stated that such drug use. In a statement to the other, but this kind of HIV transmission for women receiving drug therapy, hormone therapy, the risk of contracting the wives of HIV-infected than women said to be blind.health video [healthvidyo.com]

Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807462)

Kobo should thank Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The only reason Kobo got a foot in the door here is that for Kindles, while at first you couldn't get them, you went to amazon.ca, looked for a Kindle, and then had to important them (customs duties and all). Nooks you can't get. Sony's are too expensive, and Aluratek et al... right.

So Kobo was the only real alternative, and available at all the big box stores.

It now appears that perhaps this was a good thing.

Best Buy sells the Kobo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37808244)

I never realized the Kobo was so ignored in the US. I picked mine up at Best Buy specifically because it was a cheap e-ink reader that wasn't tied to a specific bookstore.

I like the company (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37810968)

I bought a KoboTouch for my girlfriend. I liked the simplicity of it. Just an ereader with no DRM and less temptation to spend money.

For myself though I got a NookTouch and rooted it straight away. I have Kindle reader on it and loads of other stuff but I wouldn't recommend buying one for the non-technical person.

In general I love the Kobo. They seem like an honest company and everything seems straightforward. I liked the simple implementation without bells and whistles. It makes explaining how to use it so much easier. I found the simplicity refreshing.

I also sold an ipad2. It was fun but no unique utility. It can do things in a nice way. Pinch to zoom maps, finger drawing and skype/facetime are good but phones and laptops can do everything it can do so I found I just didn't need it and couldn't justify owning one. So I sold it.

I think everyone is different on the eink vs LCD debate. For me the screen goes fuzzy after an hour or 2. For others they can read for hours on LCD no problem.

Incidently, just read my first 300 page book in about 8 hours without stopping. The battery went down to ~20% and to confirm 90% of power went to the display. I find the battery ratings are wildly inaccurate. You really can't take one camping for a week.

Don't trust Amazon to bring apps to Canada. (1)

awch (134042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37810992)

I live in Canada and have an Android phone and a Kindle 3. I would strongly discourage Canadians from buying a Kindle Fire. The reason is Amazon's horrible support for Apps in Canada. The Kindle has had games in the US for years, but none of them are available on the Kindle in Canada. They've also had an Android app store for a long time now with some great exclusives (Plants vs Zombies) and free games... also not available in Canada. I do not trust them to be able to bring a robust app store to the Canadian market. They've shown no capability/interest in doing so up until now. Instead, I plan to install the Kindle app on my Kobo Vox as soon as it arrives.

Kobo is run by Canada's largest book retailer. (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813118)

Kobo is a Canadian company run by the CEO of Canada's largest book retailer - indigo/chapters. They're seeking to maintain their presence in the market by preemptively offering a tablet before Amazon figures out their international content distribution issues. They have large bookstores in most Major Canadian cities with prominent Kobo ereader displays near the entrance. That kind of exposure is critical, because in Best Buy they'd be relegated to a corner beside much more impressive and expensive tablets. For once, it's not about the US market. ;)
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