Screen shot 2010-09-29 at 8.00.58 AM.pngKobo has just announced a WiFi ereader for $139. This makes the current crop of Sony readers look more and more “fringe”. Clearly, Amazon is setting the pace in the hardware/price game and the rest of the world, like Kobo, is going to follow. From the press release:

Kobo, a global eReading service, today announced the new Kobo Wireless eReader, the newest addition to the Kobo family. The new Kobo Wireless eReader adds WiFi connectivity, upgraded hardware with faster performance, longer battery life, and a sharper eInk screen. …

The Kobo Wireless eReader will be available for $139.99 USD at, and will be available for purchase at Borders US, Indigo Books & Music and Walmart in Canada. Online pre-orders begin today with the Kobo eReader being shipped to customers in October. The Kobo Wireless eReader is now available in three stylish colors: Onyx, Porcelain with Metallic Silver back, and Porcelain with a Pearlized Lilac back. …

New Built in Wireless: New Wireless connectivity with WiFi 802.11 b/g allows customers to shop or update their library on the go, and receive wireless deliveries of newspapers. Kobo includes wireless support for home networks, free networks and commercial hotspots, like those in public places or coffee shops.

New Faster Page Turning: A new faster processor makes turning pages over 2.5X times faster.

New, Sharper eInk Screen, Read in Bright Sunlight: The new Kobo Wireless eReader uses a new sharper 16-greyscale, 6” eInk screen which looks and reads like paper, with no glare, even in bright sunlight.

Longer Battery Life: With upgraded hardware, the Kobo Wireless eReader lasts up to 10,000 page turns on a single charge, with the wireless setting turned off.


  1. It isn’t just Sony that is going to come under pressure; it is *everybody* in the business seeking to operate under a mix-n-match business model, both the hardware-only vendors and the reader-agnostic ebookstores. Doesn’t mean they’re going to vanish outright but they’re all going to be under growing pressure to justify their pricing. And if the independent bookstores are unable to compete on price they’ll be under even greater constraint.
    What these storefront-linked readers are doing is fencing off entire segments of the customer base that will shop preferentially from their stores. Even when the gadgets allow sideloading books from independent stores, the linked stores will unavoidably be the first (and often only) stop.
    Best thing about this intro is that the head-in-the-sand crowd can no longer claim “it’s Just Amazon” or “it’s just the US”. The new baseline for ebook reader devices is US$139 for WiFi-equipped 6″ readers. Anything above that had better come with tangible benefits rather than vague puffery about “quality”.

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