They've done it again.
In 2010 Kobo disrupted the ereader market when it released its first Kobo Reader. That wasn't a very good device, and Kobo didn't have a huge market share, but Kobo was selling it cheap in the US and Canada. Its $149 price tag forced B&N and Amazon to drop the prices of their models, resulting in a much cheaper ereader market.
And now Kobo has done it again.
This Toronto-based ebook company just launched the Kobo Glo HD, a 6" ereader with specs similar to the Kindle Voyage, only at a much lower price.
The Glo HD sports a 6" Carta E-ink display with a screen resolution of 1448 x 1072 and a sharpness on par with Retina screens (300ppi). It runs Kobo's software on a 1GHz CPU with 4GB internal storage. There's no card slot, but it does of course have Wifi, a frontlight, and a touchscreen.
After looking at the leaked images, the leaked quick start guide (PDF), and reading the press release (PDF), it's safe to say that the Glo HD won't have the nifty edge-to-edge touchscreen found on the Kindle Voyage, but I'm fine with that.
I never liked that touchscreen, and what's more Kobo makes up for the lack. The new Kobo Glo HD is scheduled to ship in the US, NZ, Canada, and Australia on the first, and it will cost:
- $129.99 (CA/US)
- €129.99 (EU)
- £109.99 (UK)
- $179.99 (AU)
- $219.99 (NZ)
I can't speak for the markets down under, but the US, EU, and UK prices are equal to the regular price of the Kindle Paperwhite in those markets.
To put it simply, Kobo has redefined what a premium ereader is and what it should cost. They have released an ereader which is comparable to the Kindle Voyage, and then they knocked $90 off of the regular price.
This leaves the Kobo Aura H2O, with its 6.8" screen and $179 price tag, as the sole premium ereader on the market. The Kindle Voyage and the Kobo Glo HD are now mid-range ereaders.
And as for the Kindle Paperwhite, well, it is going to have to get a lot cheaper.
Is anyone else looking forward to Amazon's response?