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Borders Challenges Kindle with Low-Cost Kobo eReader

koboBorders Group Inc. is now accepting pre-orders for Kobo, its new offering in the eReader area. Priced at just $149.99, it sells for a little more than half the price of Amazon’s Kindle, and some technophiles believe this new device will give other eReaders some stiff competition. “It looks like a huge threat to the Kindle, and Kobo seems to have trimmed just the right features to get to this low price,” writes Charlie Sorrel on Wired.com. Its form factor is very similar to the Kindle, with measurements of 4.7 x 7.2 x 0.4 inches and a 6-inch E-ink display. The controls underneath the screen are more minimal, with just a blue D-pad. The back surface is rubber with a quilted texture for comfort, and the battery can hold a charge for up to two weeks, ensuring numerous hours of reading enjoyment.

Sorrel pronounces the Kobo interface a real winner. “The chapter lists are big and clear, the main ‘I’m Reading’ page gives a newspaper front-page-like overview of the newspapers and books you’re currently reading, and you can even choose to display your books in an iPad-like bookshelf metaphor.” With 1 GB of storage, the Kobo holds less data than the Kindle, but up to 4 GB can be added with an SD card. Borders’ eReader will come preloaded with 100 free titles, and users will be able to choose from over a million books in the Kobo Store. The file formats PDF, ePUB, and Adobe DRM are supported, and titles purchased in the Kobo store can also be viewed on a computer and on certain smart phones. It does not have 3G capabilities, though it can use a Bluetooth connection when synced with compatible smartphones, and can also connect to a Mac or PC via USB. Kobo will be available on June 17, 2010, just in time for Father’s Day.

View Kobo specs

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