Despite the rising popularity of multimedia tablets for reading, e-book retailer Kobo is releasing the limited-edition Kobo Aura HD E-ink e-reader, a high resolution, black & white E-ink device that will retail for $169.99. Designed for “passionate booklovers,” the Aura HD is a 6.8 inch, high-res (265 dpi) touchscreen display with a 1GHZ processor and 4GB of storage expandable to 32GB.
Although the latest edition of BISG’s Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey showed tablets overtaking dedicated e-readers in popularity, many hardcore digital readers still prefer reading on e-ink screens. It looks like the new Aura HD E-ink reader is designed for them.
Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo, said, “Kobo Aura HD is designed for the most passionate booklovers—those who devour hundreds of stories each year—who asked us to create the ultimate eReading experience. Kobo Aura HD is our way of celebrating these customers.”
Despite the BISG report, Serbinis said sales of Kobo devices “tripled year over year” last December and he emphasized that “other e-reader makers may be flatlining but 90% of our e-reader base said they intend to purchase a new e-reader this year.” Serbinis said customer surveys showed that 36% of Kobo customers “already own a tablet and an e-ink e-reader,” and that a third of Kobo customers, “who discovered e-reading with a tablet now intend to buy an e-reader. Tablets are a perfect multi-function device, but we know that people who are passionate about reading—those people who settle in for hours at a time—prefer a dedicated reading experience.”
The Kobo Aura HD also features a new user interface that Serbinis said, “displays aspects of the users Reading Life [Kobo’s social reading software], reading stats, latest books, as well as Recommendations and related reading to bring the consumer closer to their e-reading experience.” And asked if he anticipated any consumer resistance to the Aura HD’s higher price point—prices for e-ink devices have been going down steadily for years—Serbinis said no, because, the device is designed for people who read every day and, “are looking for the best eReader to complement that experience.”
The new device is said to have a larger reading surface and improved display of images as well as offering faster page turns and battery life of up to two months. In addition to a new user interface, the device also features wi-fi connectivity and 10 adjustable fonts. The Kobo Aura HD can be pre-ordered in North America beginning April 16 at www.kobo.com and will be available in-stores in Canada and the United Kingdom April 25. The device will go on sale internationally in May. For more information about the Kobo Aura HD click here.