Kobo steals Amazon’s thunder; announces Android 4.0 tablet & two eReaders

September 6, 2012

The firm revealed that it will hold a press conference in Toronto, Canada later today to showcase the new ‘Kobo Arc’ tablet and ‘Kobo Mini’ and ‘Kobo Glo’ eReaders.

Based on the specifications alone, Kobo's Arc looks a promising rival for the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7. The tablet features a 7-inch HD display, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and front-facing camera, while it runs Android 4.0 (better known as Ice Cream Sandwich).

Chief executive Mike Serbinis says that the 8GB model will retail for $200 — the same price as the original Kindle Fire, with the 16GB edition going for $250. Both models are expected to come to market in November.

Kobo also plans to use its event to show off the latest additions to its eReader collection; the Kobo Mini and Kobo Glo.

The Mini is a 5-inch device with an e-Ink touchscreen, 2GB of storage and a price of $80, while the Glo is an updated version of its flagship eReader, but now with front lighting. This new edition will have a 6-inch e-Ink display with an adjustable front light, 2GB of memory, a micro SD card and a price of $130. Both eReaders will launch in October.

Some could view Kobo’s decision to hold an event on the same day as Amazon as brave or, at the very least, an attempt to take away from the competition, but for Serbinis the two companies are targeting different markets.

“There are players in the market — Amazon being one of them — that have Apple envy and they are going after this general purpose tablet market. We remain focused on the book lover and are really making a bet on the book lover," said Serbinis.

Earlier in the year, the Kobo CEO told attendees at the FT Digital Media Conference in London that tablets were largely just for casual reading.

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