Watch out Kindle and Nook, The Kobo Aura is coming for you!
Just don’t tell that to Kobo, which continues to push the boundaries on the lowly e-reader. The company has just announced the Kobo Aura, a $150 e-reader with some fancy technologies for reading digital books.
While Barnes & Noble plays ambivalent about the future of the Nook and Amazon continues to dominate the e-reader industry, Canadian firm Kobo is opting for their own strategy: Lightweight e-readers with more bells and whistles than the Kindle.
The conventional wisdom about e-readers is that they are slowly getting pushed to the bargain bin, doomed to a life of obscurity at the hands of thinner, lighter and cheaper tablets but Kobo is hoping to prove the naysayers wrong.
The company launched their Aura e-reader earlier this week; the device has a 6″ HD electronic ink screen and weighs under 175 grams. It retails for $150 and has more than a month of battery time. Say what? More than a month of battery Time? Love it! And that’s not the only thing that the Kobo Aura boasts, making it stand out from the rest of the e-reader pack. Among other things, there’s fonts for dyslexic readers and a better backlight capability than other e-ink products. But for Kobo, the question is how they will be able to undercut the much cheaper e-reader prices of Amazon.
In an interview with Fast Company, CEO Michael Serbinis emphasized that the international market was a major growth area for his company. Kobo is based in Canada and backed financially by Japanese giant Rakuten. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have disproportionately focused on the domestic market for e-book readers, and many foreign markets are dominated by homegrown e-reader products without international reach. For Kobo, Europe, Asia, and Latin America might just be the biggest markets for their new e-reader. Besides the Aura, the company announced several other readers and tablets this week.