A reader has tipped me to the news that the Kobo Aura HD, the 6.8" ereader which Kobo launched in the summer of 2013, is now out of stock at Kobo. (Thanks, Phil!) This follows only a few weeks after a similar report that the Kobo Glo had also gone out of stock.
There's been no official statement from Kobo on the matter, but some are speculating that this could be a sign that both models have been discontinued.
And they might be right (or at least, I'm hoping they are). We've known for about a month now that Kobo had used a couple new device codenames in its latest firmware update, and it looks like Kobo may be thinning out their lineup to make room for the new models.
If that's true then Kobo is planning to release a couple new ereaders early this year, one with a 6" screen and one with either a 6" or a 5" screen.
Early last month inquisitive Kobo watchers took apart a Kobo firmware update and discovered mentions of Pika and Alyssum, two new codenames for what everyone is assuming are a couple new ereaders.
There were few details to ferret out, but we do know that the codenames were paired with screen resolutions. The first codename, Pika, was tied to a screen resolution of 800 x 600, while the second codename, Alyssum, was paired with a screen resolution of 1072 x 1448.
After a long debate, readers convinced me that Alyssum probably refers to a device with the same screen as on the Kindle Voyage (I was betting on a 6.8" screen, but not any more). It's not clear what size screen the Pika device will have (both 5" and 6" are a possibility) but I think it is safe to assume - for now - that it is designed to be a budget model.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that we'll see new hardware.
Kobo is now down to selling 3 models, at three price points: budget, mid-range, and premium. They have their bases covered, so there's no clear need to release new hardware. And with a penny pincher running the show at Kobo, there's every chance that the new models are nixed as a cost-cutting measure.
Update: A reader noticed that the Kobo Touch was out of stock at Kobo. If that is a permanent state then it increases the chances we'll see new hardware this year. Thanks, Fbone!
As with Kobo's last hardware launches, we're going to have to wait for the new models to show up at the FCC, or for more details to leak, before we know for sure.