If the hints dropped in the test reports are correct, this is probably going to be a 6″ ereader with Wifi, an HD E-ink screen, a microSD card slot, and a frontlight. And if the date for the embargo is correct the more interesting details will be revealed on 30 August, suggesting that this ereader will likely ship some time next month.
Update: I’ve just learned that someone posted images of this ereader on his blog. See the end of the post.
Few of the hardware details are explicitly spelled out in the paperwork, but the test report does describe this device as a 6″ ereader. Netronix (Kobo’s hardware partner) was also so kind as to let us see far more detail about the backside of the new device than was strictly necessary.
This image told me a lot:
If you look closely you can see that the upper edge includes 2 cutouts. Based on the design of the Kobo Glo, I think one is for the power supply while the other probably controls the front light. And if you look closely at the bottom edge you’ll see a cutout for the microSD card slot and the USB port.
And as you can also see from the image, the overall design of the backside of this ereader faintly resembles that of the Kobo Aura HD, Kobo’s 6.8″ ereader. That suggests that Kobo is no longer working with Ideo, the design firm that crafted the refined appearance of Kobo’s previous ereaders.
That might be a mistake. I and many other people felt that (compared to previous models) the Kobo Aura HD was unpleasant to look at and to hold, with poorer construction quality and a less pleasant hands on experience. If Kobo really did switch to a new designer we could be seeing a lot of rejection this Fall as customers pick up a device and put it back down again with an Ewww expression.
As you can see from this gallery, the new Kobo ereader is going to look nothing like last year’s models. It’s also going to look a lot better than the Kobo Aura HD, thank goodness.
This ereader has the ugly red button for the frontlight found on the Aura HD, but it also has a polished metal front and a textured backside. Clearly this is a more polished design than the Aura HD, thus supporting my supposition that the Aura HD was a rushed design.