E-book retailer Kobo is making good on plans to releaseits own dedicated reading device and has also launched "Powered by Kobo," a partnershipand e-book software and infrastructure program aimed at helping devicemanufacturers and retailers work with the company. The new Kobo eReader is a black & white e-inkdevice that will go on sale this sping at Indigo and later this summer at Borders for $150.
Kobo was founded on a "device neutral" approach toselling e-books and has offered an e-book reading software application fora wide variety of mobile devices as well as personal computers. With therelease of this new device, Kobo enters a crowded marketplace of dedicatedreaders; a marketplace that will see many more reading devices in the comingyear. The new partnership program is aimed at helping device manufacturers addKobo's e-reading software to their products and help retailers adopt its e-bookcatalog.
"We believe consumers want choice, and the freedom toread on any device," Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo said. "Building greateReading applications and partnering with leading device manufacturers is arecipe for success in this quickly growing market." Serbinis said the Poweredby Kobo program, will "accelerate the time to market for manufacturers of newdevices" and "partners can start selling eBooks in a matter of days." The programwill offer a software development kit, mobile storefront and other options forpotential partners.
Kobo's bookcatalog offers more than 2 million titles. The new Kobo device has an attractive pricepoint andwill come pre-loaded with 100 public domain titles. The device offers a 6" black& white 8-tone grayscale e-ink screen; it supports ePub and PDF. The devicecan store 1,000 e-books (storage can also be expanded with an SD card) but doesnot offer 3G or Wireless connectivity and titles must be downloaded to a PC throughthe Kobo desktop application and then uploaded to the eReader using a USB cable.Kobo e-books can also be synched between certain mobile phones and devices thatsupport Bluetooth.