With the rise of tablets and decline of Barnes & Noble's Nook, people have questioned what the future of the e-reader looks like, but one company that's continuing to push ahead is Kobo. In a press conference today, the company is announcing Pocket integration on all of its e-reader products and a series of new devices that it hopes can set its service apart among the e-reading public.
You'll be able to sign into Pocket from any of your Kobo devices
Pocket is one of our favorite apps, letting you save articles from around the web to read later on a multitude of different devices, and now Kobo e-readers are joining that list. Starting September 13th, you’ll be able to sign into Pocket from any of your Kobo devices, giving you access to all of your saved articles, formatted for a black-and-white E Ink screen, and cached so that you can read them offline. Pocket points out that this is the first time it has created a native e-reader experience, letting people work through their queues without having to use a service like Calibre to create ebooks out of their content first.
On top of the new Pocket integration, Kobo is also announcing a trio of new LCD tablets and a premium E Ink ereader. The Arc 7 is a 7-inch device with 8GB of storage and a 1024 x 600 display and 1.2GHz quad-core processor for $150. For an extra $50, you will be able to pick up the Arc 7 HD, which crams a 1920 x 1200 display, 16GB of storage, and a 1.7GHz quad-core processor into the same form factor. Finally, the 10-inch $300 Arc 10 HD has a 2650 x 1600 display and 16GB of storage, and is powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core processor. All three are running a modified version of Android 4.2.2 with an option to switch into a reading-centric mode that kills notifications and adjusts colors to make it more pleasant to read on the devices.
A dedicated reading mode similar to Apple's Do Not Disturb
Kobo is a company dedicated to reading, but Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis is concerned about the variety of distractions when trying to enjoy a book on your tablet. The Arc tablets aim to solve this problem with a dedicated reading mode similar to Apple's "Do Not Disturb" feature, but with slight color adjustments to lessen eye strain.
Finally, the company is also announcing a 6-inch version of its premium Aura HD e-reader simply called the Aura. The company says it’s the thinnest and lightest 6-inch e-reader it’s made, at 0.32 inches thick and 6.1 ounces. Just like its bigger cousin, the Aura has a frontlit E Ink display, and according to Serbinis, the new device minimizes the blank flash that happens after you flip through several pages, a welcome improvement.
The overwhelming message at the company's press event in New York is that it's focused on what readers want, and it's pushing a pile of new products and services focused on the reading experience. We'd recommend holding off on buying anything until we see what Amazon has up its sleeves for fall, but if you're interested in the Aura e-reader, it's coming to stores on September 16th, with the Arc tablets to follow sometime in October.