Kobo’s Latest Firmware Update Drops Hints of New eReader Models
Kobo’s known for following their own launch schedule. Most of their competitors launch new models in the fall, so Kobo’s last couple launches were in the spring and summer.
And now it appears we might possibly be looking at a new launch tomorrow.
Kobo has announced on Facebook that they have news coming tomorrow (Thanks, Anne!),and while we don’t yet know what they’re going to announce I can report that references to a couple Kobo devices have shown up in the latest firmware update.
Several Kobo enthusiasts over at MobileRead Forums have taken apart the firmware update Kobo released late last month and discovered code names and technical details for a couple new devices called Pika and Alyssum.
Alas, all I can report at this time are the expected screen resolutions, and a few guesses.
The Pika device is tied to a screen resolution of 800 x 600, while the Alyssum device was paired with a screen resolution of 1072 x 1448. I can’t tell you the screen sizes with any certainty, but there’s a high probability that the Alyssum is going to use the same screen panel as either the Aura H2O (6.8″, 265 dpi) or the Kindle Voyage (6″, 300 dpi).
The screen resolution doesn’t match up perfectly with either screen, no, but it’s close enough that both are possible.
Based on my guess that Amazon paid for an exclusive on the 6″ screen in the Voyage, I’m betting that we’re looking at a new 6.8″ Aura, and not a 6″ unit. If I am right then I may have seen the unit in question at CES 2015 last month. It had both a capacitive touchscreen and an electromagnetic touchscreen sandwiched around a 6.8″ Carta E-ink screen.
But I should also point out that the other Nathan is betting the other way; he thinks we’re going to see a 6″ Aura with a 300 dpi screen ($50 says he’s wrong).
And as for the Pika, your guess is as good as mine. Some are speculating that this is a new 5″ model intended to replace the cute little Kobo mini, but it could just as likely be a new budget 6″ Kobo ereader. I lean more towards the latter, but honest to goodness the odds are 50-50 that it will be one or the other. It’s really too close to call, and we’re going to have to wait until at least tomorrow before we have any more information.
Speaking of which, Kobo posted an update on the Book a couple days ago which pre-announced something for tomorrow:
Kobo isn’t usually one to pre-announce device launches like this, so I’m betting tomorrow’s event is related to something else. And even though February would be a strange time of year to launch a new ereader, I will be paying close attention in any case.
Update: About 10 minutes after I posted, I heard back from Kobo:
No need for an embargo as the news will be out by 6am, and it’s industry-wide book related news.