Kobo launches slate of new ereaders

Posted by Mike Luttrell

The Kobo brand, perhaps best known as the one that was tied to the now-defunct retailer Borders, is looking to grab some new attention for the holiday season.The company has announced three new models of its largely overlooked Kindle competitor. First up is the Kobo Mini, touted as the world's smallest and lightest ereader. With just a 5-inch display, its main focus is portability.

The Kobo Glo comes with an integrated reading light for those who prefer to read in bed at night or in other low-light conditions. And finally, the Kobo Arc is a Nook Color competitor. As a fully functional, Google Play-enabled tablet, the Arc has Android 4.0, 1 GB of RAM, and either 8 GB or 16 GB of storage. It has a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and will launch at a $200 price point.

The Mini will be available for $80, and the Glo will launch for $130. Both of the ereaders will have 2 GB of internal storage and support for WiFi for book downloads.

The Kobo is also the most accessible ereading device because it does one thing and one thing only. The Kindle may claim to do the same, but with its built-in keyboard, Wikipedia access, and addition of other content like games and apps, it really isn't just a reading device anymore. The Kobo is, and that's where it differentiates itself.

Kobo began in partnership with Borders, but unlike Barnes & Noble with the Nook, Kobo was and remains a separate company. So despite the fact that Borders's future looks pretty bleak, Kobo's most certainly does not. In addition to strengthening its partnerships with other retail outlets in the US, the company plans to make a big splash in international markets, where the ereader craze is still in the nascent stages.