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Old 03-24-2010, 08:55 AM   #1
Nate the great
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Kobo Launches New E-reader!

crossposted from The Digital Reader

Kobo Books just announced their first ebook reader. It has a 6″ E-ink screen, Bluetooth (but not Wifi), Adobe DE support, and is going to be on sale this summer for $149.

At first I was really excited, but then I recognized the hardware design. The case is new, but inside the case is hardware that was designed by Netronix. we’re looking at a device based on a 4 years old design, one that wasn’t very good to start with. How disappointing.

press release
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:58 AM   #2
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wow, it's the hardware that wouldn't die. i agree, i think that case has had a good long run, and it's time to move on, rather than continue slapping new coats of paint on the same old stuff. on the other hand, 149$ is quite cheap, so kobo is at least making these devices accessible, which is a step in the right direction.
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
At first I was really excited, but then I recognized the hardware design. The case is new, but inside the case is hardware that was designed by Netronix. we’re looking at a device based on a 4 years old design, one that wasn’t very good to start with. How disappointing.
It depends how good the firmware is. If it's realised as well as on the Cybook Gen3 then that's a good device at a great price, IMO.

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Old 03-24-2010, 09:01 AM   #4
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It depends how good the firmware is. If it's realised as well as on the Cybook Gen3 then that's a good device at a great price, IMO.

Graham
Yeah, or the Pocketbook 301. Any details as to how the bluetooth will work? Will it allow an internet connection or BT audio? Or is it just to push files to the device from a computer or cell phone?
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:06 AM   #5
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Yeah, or the Pocketbook 301. Any details as to how the bluetooth will work? Will it allow an internet connection or BT audio? Or is it just to push files to the device from a computer or cell phone?
Just wondering about the Bluetooth thingie here. I am not sure how they're gonna realize that on this hardware. 149$? Nah!

Last edited by mtravellerh; 03-24-2010 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:30 AM   #6
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149 $ seems like too good to be true to me... In the web page, with regards to price, it says "TBC" which I guess means "to be confirmed". I don´t think it will be so inexpensive...
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:38 AM   #7
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Ah, yes. The press release says "for a limited time" at $149...
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:40 AM   #8
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The website is very slick and has screenshots of how the library will look. It looks like the bluetooth is only to update your library of books you bought from their store. It does not look like you can buy books directly on the device. It has a shelf view which other readers don't have. And it's lighter than the Kindle and Nook. I think it might compete in Canada with the Sony Pocket Reader; their comparison chart sure makes it sound like a better option. If I can snag a review copy since I write for Teleread, I'll go for it. And I am sure I'll play in the store with one when they hit retail since there is an Indigo right down the street from me. But it doesn't seem like this is adding any features my Kindle doesn't have. I didn't see anything in there about a dictionary or text to speech, and the options for font, displaying the list of books by author/title/date etc. look pretty standard.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:21 AM   #9
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I didn't see anything ... and the options for font,
Five sizes.
Two styles -- Serif and Sanserif. It looks like it will have quite large margins in books judging from screenshots.
Other sellers of DRMed books do not let you choose font style at all, do they?

The device supports pdf and epub - nothing else, according to the specification.

The only nice feature I see is that when you switch off the device the cover of the most recently read book is displayed. Nice idea but I would make it optional. Especially or Harlequin readers ;-)
Another unique feature that they brag about is that they display how many pages are to the end of the chapter.

It looks like interesting device for a totally non-technical user. The kind of user that can not even read SMS received on his mobile phone (hi mom! ).
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:50 AM   #10
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Apparently Kobo will be bringing them to BNC Tech Forum tomorrow, so if I get to use one I'll report back. (And not like my TOC reporting back, sorry about that!)
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Old 03-24-2010, 02:36 PM   #11
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At first I was really excited, but then I recognized the hardware design. The case is new, but inside the case is hardware that was designed by Netronix. we’re looking at a device based on a 4 years old design, one that wasn’t very good to start with. How disappointing.
At the risk of going off-topic - why is the Netronix hardware bad? Or do you mean it's not as good as others are, i.e. could be a lot better?

I thought the hardware is rather neat, if cheap.

If the price stays or remains close, I might recommend that device to people who ask me. Aside from the software I have no quarrels with my EB600.

I suppose ignorance IS bliss, after all... (as I have no way to compare it with other models.)
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Old 03-24-2010, 02:49 PM   #12
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At the risk of going off-topic - why is the Netronix hardware bad? Or do you mean it's not as good as others are, i.e. could be a lot better?

I thought the hardware is rather neat, if cheap.

If the price stays or remains close, I might recommend that device to people who ask me. Aside from the software I have no quarrels with my EB600.

I suppose ignorance IS bliss, after all... (as I have no way to compare it with other models.)
It's the first I have heard about the Netronix hardware being not good. Maybe it's Nate's opinion that comes into account here. I think there may be faster hardware around now but with the right software, this still really rocks.

I have not found any evidence that this is Netronix hardware, by the way, and I should know.
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:09 PM   #13
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I have not found any evidence that this is Netronix hardware, by the way, and I should know.
It has the 4 buttons on the side just like the Eb600/PB301/Cybook, and the d-pad is in the same place. If it's not a Netronix design then this developer made the same bad decisions as Netronix.

Why don't I like it? The 4 buttons on the side are difficult to see, much less press. I have to turn the device sideways to see which one I'm touching. The d-pad is too low on the device for me to have my thumb on it when holding the device with one hand.

Yes, Pocketbook has put some great software on it, and so has Bookeen. But both have moved on to better designs, haven't they? And besides, the Kobo e-reader is going to have the stock firmware.

Last edited by Nate the great; 03-24-2010 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:21 PM   #14
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they acknowledge the side button issues by having them labeled on the front
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:24 PM   #15
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Is it the Netronix firmware? Looks like they've spiffed it up some:

http://www.koboereader.com/experience.html

Looks pretty slick, actually; aesthetically, it's very nice-looking, almost (dare I say) Apple-like. If I didn't already have two ebook readers, I'd be tempted; especially as there is a Kobo app for my smartphone. It would make a nice ecosystem.

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