Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The KOBO eReader
A device with a single purpose is considered an appliance in the technology world. The KOBO e-reader is such a device. It is the toaster of e-readers. It follows the old technology vendors trick of creating a vendor lock -in model that ties you with them.

With the backing of Chapters /Indigo the Kobo Online Bookstore has a selection of 2 million books priced on average at $9.99. If you do not have a KOBO you can still get a digital book and read it on your computer or smartphone by downloading their software (Adobe Digital Editions). You can also download a KOBO APP for your Apple iPAd, from the iTune store.

E-Readers are going through a transformation and it seems to have some staying power. I still remember when the first e-book craze happened during the dotcom boom during the late 90’s. The use of e-readers will grow and the ability to read PDFs on these devices is an important concern for magazine publishers as part of their digital distribution model. To see a product video go to this link.

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The KOBO sells for $149 and measures 7.2 X 4.7 inches with a 6-inch digital screen


The KOBO Scorecard
The gadgets in this blog for e-readers will be based on a scorecard and will be evaluated on these four criteria (download speed, readibility, navigation, price/value) to arrive at the score.

Download Speeds - To access content on the KOBO you need to set up an online account that will house your library. The process is fairly basic; if you can connect a digital camera to your computer you will have no problem. You can also connect through Bluetooth and your Blackberry. You can transfer PDF files to be read on the reader. I transferred a textbook, magazine and some business reading on my test device.

Readability - The screen size of the device lends itself very good for books and it was a joy to read a book in this format, with no eye strain (I do not like reading for long periods of time on my computer as it is hard on my eyes). The liquid ink technology allows you to read in any light conditions so you can take outside, or even your daughter’s soccer game.

It does not however work well with 8 1/2 x 11 PDFs as the type is small, but readable. The gray scale photos were passable but not very crisp. Changing pages uses a 4-way directional button that took some getting used to (I kept touching the screen – my iTouch habit).

Navigation - Simple navigation is an important feature I look for. The KOBO device was a single menu bar that was self explanatory and does not require a techie to figure it out. The biggest beef I have with any new device as each one has a unique way to use the device and there is always a new learning curve.

Price/Feature Value - The KOBO does what a reading device is supposed to do,- allow you to read. It does not have wifi, audio or any other bells and whistles. It is very lightweight and has rubber backing for easier grip and handling. E-ink technology offers great battery life as a single charge will last for 2 weeks or 8,000 page turns. The price is $149 which makes it very affordable for a mass market versus $249 for a Sony Touch Reader or $550 for an Apple iPad.

The Gadget Report Rating - 3.5 out of 5
The reading of PDFs was a chore and would not be an everyday task that I would do on an eReader. If it was an 8″ x 10″ screen, I probably would get better use from it as I can download PDFs of magazines and business reading. The black and white screen seems archaic in a digital world, where high definition color is the norm.

Next Device:
The Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-6000
- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners online publishing, ad sales and acquisition/selling brokerage services. His media services also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He also moonlights as a pro goalie as a "rent a goalie" at mypuck.com.
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