The drought of news about new US ebook readers ended today with the discovery that Kobo's next ebook reader has made an appearance .
Kobo (or rather their hardware partner Netronix) has taken the sensible precaution of placing most of the useful info under an embargo, but there were a few nuggets of information scattered across the filings.
I can confidently report that the new Kobo device is described as having a 6.8" screen, and that it was tested for Wifi. There is also a mention of a microSD card slot but no hint that the new device has audio support.
It looks like we might have a replacement for the Kobo Aura HD, the 6.8" ereader which launched last spring. That device sported a 1GHz CPU and had an infrared touchscreen, a frontlight, and a 6.8" Pearl HD E-ink screen with a screen resolution of 1440 x 1080.
All in all, there's very little to say about the FCC filings other than that they happened, and given the rumor that popped up last month I find I have more questions than answers.
Last month the ever reliable @evleaks reported that Kobo was going to release a waterproof ereader called the Kobo H2O. As I reported at the time, even though there was no evidence to support the rumor I thought it had a good chance of coming true.
Making an ereader waterproof was a logical next step for a device that could be used in full sunlight, but just as importantly one of Kobo's competitors already has a waterproof model on the market in Europe. The Pocketbook Aqua is an unimpressive budget device with a premium price tag, but it shows that at least one ereader maker is thinking in this direction.
Update: This device is named as the Kobo Aura H2O in the PDF for the FCC ID label. (There was a second page to that PDF which I missed when I first looked at the PDF.)
Alas, while the FCC filings are tempting, they don't definitively confirm that rumor. This new Kobo device could just as easily be based on the prototype ereader that Netronix showed off at a trade show a couple weeks ago.
Charbax caught up with Netronix at that show and showed us an ereader with a 6.8" E-ink screen, Wacom touchscreen. It ran Android 4.1:
It is entirely possible that Kobo sent their version of the Netronix prototype through the FCC last week, and not the waterproof model. There's also a chance that the prototype and the rumored waterproof model are one and the same.
There's no way to tell at this point, so we will just have to wait and see.