Could the Kobo be a genuine UK rival for the Kindle?
Whisper it quietly, but there’s a chance that Amazon’s Kindle might have a serious rival. The Kobo e-reader was launched a few weeks ago as a WHSmith exclusive, linked to their online eBook store, and it looks as though it could be gathering pace as an easy high street alternative to the pioneering Amazon device.
It’d be fair to say that there was some derision from various quarters at the time, but WHSmith have given the Kobo some serious promotion, and last week hurriedly launched a sequel, the Android-powered Kobo Vox, with a seven-inch colour touchscreen and optimisation for outdoor reading as well as internet access, apps and all the other gubbins that you’ll expect to get when the Kindle Fire launches. Also, it supports many more formats than the more prohibitive Kindle does, with ePUB, PDF and MOBI, TXT, RTF, HTML and CBZ and CBR comic-book formats running on it along with JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF image files.
The Vox has hit the shops ahead of the Kindle Fire, and as far as the casual consumer is concerned, the Kobo devices could appeal as a more attractive entry-level e-reader than the Kindle. The Kobo has certainly been a hit in its native Canada, and the company has just been snapped up by Rakuten, who also recently acquired Play.com. It’s almost certainly just a matter of time before Play set themselves up as a seller of eBooks and begins to ape Amazon’s business model note for note.
But even though the reviews have been generally favourable (this one for exmple), hey, let’s not let turn this into a big ad for the Kobo. Tell us what you reckon – is the Kindle the only e-reader that matters or is there room for another one? Does the connection with the multi-coloured shit bazaar that is WHSmith put you off? Have you had a fiddle with both devices, and which one did you like best? Come on, don’t be shy, TELL US!