On Monday 23 May 2011, in New York City Kobo at BookExpo America, Kobo announced its latest e-book reader, their new eReader Touch Edition. A day later Barnes and Noble released their new NOOK Simple Touch Reader.
The Kobo eReader Touch Edition and the NOOK Simple Touch Reader are strikingly similar with many common feature. These include:
- 6″ Pearl high contrast E Ink display with 16 Levels, providing strainfree reading even in bright sunlight.
- Clutter free e-reader front with just a single phyical button.
- Intuitive controls using Infrared Touch Screen technology, to allow swipes to turn pages, highlighting of phrases, tap words to lookup words in the builtin dictionary, gesture zoom of images, and increase font sizes.
- Wifi 802.11b/g/n as standard.
- Memory card slot expandable to 32 GB.
- Micro USB
- EPUB DRM supported.
However there some important differences:
- The Kobo eReader Touch Edition weighs 200 grams compared to NOOK Simple Touch Reader’s 213 grams.
- The Kobo eReader Touch Edition is 10mm thick compared to NOOK Simple Touch Reader’s 12mm thick.
- The Kobo eReader Touch Edition has 10 days battery life compared to NOOK Simple Touch Reader’s 60 days.
- The Kobo eReader Touch Edition is has limited internet functionality allowing only Connection and sharing of you current book with friends on Facebook and Twitter. The NOOK Simple Touch Reader has a more feature full, although still limited internet.
So it appears that Kobo have optimized the eReader Touch Edition for weight and size whereas Barnes and Noble have gone for longer battery life. As a result Kobo eReader Touch Edition is the lightest reader in its class. Depending upon your requirements it could be the best ereader for your needs.
I think that Kobo have got it right. Most reader would value a lighter weight ebook reader rather than one that has longer battery life. A ten day battery life is perfectly acceptable.
However there is more to choosing the right ereader than just the performance of the physical hardware. The software and the service provided are important factors also. Here too the Kobo strikes some wins with automatic bookmarking across other reading devices. Kobo Apps are available for all the popular mobile platforms including Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, Blackberry Smartphone, Blackberry PlayBook, Android Smartphones, PC and MAC operating systems.