onsdag 24. mars 2010

Dirt Cheap And No Features To Speak Of – Will The Kobo Sell By The Million?

If you follow e-readers, you might have seen the post I wrote not long ago detailing and judging the various secondary features e-readers are sporting in order to catch the eye of the spendy book-lover. I am ashamed to say I missed a very important one: extremely low price. I mentioned it in passing, but the truth is that once a device like this creeps below $100 or so while retaining its fundamental function, it gains access to a few different markets, a circumstance worth looking at.

The Kobo e-reader is the spark that set this post off; at $150, this 6"-screen, 0.1"-thin, half-pound device is among the very cheapest e-readers out there, yet Kobo also runs its own bookstore, which has the usual classics and bestsellers — probably 90% of what gets sold for e-readers. It's going to be sold at Borders, and with its modest price tag might make for more of a temptation to browsing customers.

But as long as consumers are being bombarded with promises of Android, touchscreens, cool dual-screen form factors, the Kobo is going to look mighty shabby in comparison. And by the time Kobo gets some press and is widely available, we'll probably be hearing about all the cool stuff that's going to happen next year. What's a cheap, functional e-reader to do?

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