from the L.A. Times -October 19, 2011
E-reader maker Kobo is following in Barnes & Noble's and Amazon's footsteps and releasing its own low-priced Android tablet.
The Canadian firm announced the Kobo Vox tablet on Wednesday, coming in at a Amazon Kindle Fire-matching price of $199.99. Barnes & Noble's hit Nook Color tablet sells for $249.
Kobo began taking pre-orders for the Vox on Wednesday as well, and the specs are similar to what Nook Color or Kindle Fire users might find in their tablets.
The Vox has a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 that is covered in an anti-glare coating that Kobo said will make the tablet better suited for outdoor reading.
It also has 8 gigabytes of built-in storage memory and a microSD card slot that can handle up to 32-gigabyte cards, as well as an 800-megahertz processor and 512 megabytes of RAM.
Like the Kindle Fire and Nook Color, the Vox is Wi-Fi only.
The multi-touch display on the front is offset by a colored plastic band around the side of the Vox, and Kobo's quilted plastic back design style remains in place. The Vox is available in colors of "hot pink," "lime green," "ice blue" and "jet black."
Unlike the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire, the Kobo Vox is running a less-modified version of Google's Android operating system. Kobo is using "full open access Android 2.3," also known as Gingerbread, an operating system widely used on tablets but also an OS that was designed by Google with phones in mind.
Kobo's Reading Life application, of course, is included on the Vox, allowing users to track their reading by way of stats -- what, how much and how long a user reads -- with digital awards offered up based on that progress (number of pages or books read, for example) and integration with Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing.
The Vox will start shipping on Oct. 28, a couple of weeks ahead of the Kindle Fire.
Kobo's Vox keeps it in step with Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with all three companies now offering touch-screen eInk eReaders and 7-inch touch-screen Android tablets.
And that's a point Kobo has made before -- it will match its rivals and won't be left behind as it competes to be the third-place eReader with sights set on growing in stature and sales.
"We're gunning for Amazon," Kobo Chief Executive Michael Serbinis said in a May interview with the Times' Technology blog.