Kobo Unveils Aura HD, High-Definition E-Reader (video)

kobo aura hdMaking good on its CEO’s promise of doubling-down on e-readers, Kobo has unveiled the latest generation in its series of such devices: the Kobo Aura HD.

Retailing for $169.99, the e-ink device sports a 6.8 inch screen with 265 dpi (dots per inch) resolution, which means a crisper display for readers. For comparison’s sake, the Kindle Paperwhite, widely considered to be the top e-reader on the market, offers a 212 dpi resolution (and retails for $119 without 3G wireless connectivity and $179 with 3G). The Aura HD will be available for pre-order in Canada and the U.S. on April 16 and will hit store shelves on April 25. (Complete specs below.)

The product is aimed at what Kobo CEO Mike Serbinis calls “the most passionate booklovers [sic]” in a statement (below) — those who read hundreds of books a year. Serbinis told Digital Book World in an interview recently that Kobo was investing more heavily in selling e-readers rather than tablets.

Competitors Amazon and Barnes & Noble have done the opposite, pushing their new tablet products — the Kindle Fire and Nook HD — alongside e-readers. And, unlike Kobo’s stated focus on the heavy reader, the Kindle and Nook tablets seemed to be aimed at a wide audience. In Amazon’s case, the strategy may be working with the Kindle Fire among the top-selling Android tablets; for Barnes & Noble, the strategy seems to have backfired, with the company selling very few Nook tablets compared to other tablet manufacturers.

Kobo, like Barnes & Noble, seems to have struggled selling tablets. In extensive interviews with independent bookstore owners who sell Kobo devices, it was clear that the Kobo Arc tablet was barely selling compared to the Kobo e-readers. Even the most successful of the hundreds of independent booksellers that carry the Arc had sold fewer than five, compared with hundreds of Kobo’s e-readers. In his interview with DBW, Serbinis seemed to downplay the Arc and its performance, choosing instead to focus his remarks on Kobo’s dedicated e-readers.

In Sept. of 2012, Kobo unveiled its current generation of devices, excepting the Aura HD: The Kobo Glo, Kobo Arc and Kobo Mini. Later in the same day that Kobo made its announcement, Amazon also unveiled its latest generation of devices, including the Paperwhite, which made many other e-readers seem pedestrian, and the Kindle Fire HD, which has become a top-seller.

Related: Indie Bookstore Sales of Kobo Ebooks Dwarf Google, Still Small | Kobo Now Selling E-Reader and Tablets Direct-to-Consumers Online in U.S. and Canada


Introducing Kobo Aura HD from Indigo on Vimeo.

[Press Release]

Kobo Unveils Limited Edition Kobo Aura HD Reader Kobo creates new high-definition eReader for the passionate booklover
Kobo, a global leader in eReading, today announced its limited-edition Kobo Aura HD E Ink eReader. Designed for the world’s most passionate booklover, Kobo Aura HD delivers the best eReading experience with the highest resolution 6.8” E Ink display available on the market today. Its sophisticated, book-inspired design is available in Ivory, Espresso and Onyx. Starting tomorrow Kobo Aura HD will be available for pre-order at Kobo.com and select retailers. The device will retail for $169.99 (CAD/USD MSRP).

“From the beginning, Kobo has pushed the eReading industry to new heights and today is no exception,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. “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.”

Kobo Aura HD offers the highest-resolution screen available in an eReader today. At 265 dpi, the spacious 6.8” Pearl E Ink touchscreen offers 30 percent more reading surface and the closest experience to print-on-paper – showcasing text and high-resolution images beautifully. The device’s 1GHz processor makes page turns fly and is the fastest eReader on the market – 25 percent faster. Kobo Aura HD has 4GB of storage (expandable up to 32GB) to easily store thousands of eBooks, and has a battery life of up to two months, making it the perfect eReader for people with a passion for the written word.

Complementing the sophisticated features of its design, Kobo developed a new user experience for Kobo Aura HD, harnessing its power, speed, and style for easy discovery of new content. The highly responsive eReader easily accesses the internet with a Wi Fi connection to browse the Kobo eBookstore. True to Kobo standards, each of its 10 fonts were perfected pixel-by-pixel to ensure that no matter which of the 24 adjustable font sizes is selected, Kobo Aura HD displays each letter with perfection. Reflecting the sophisticated nature of its design, the home screen also reflects a new, modern library display.

“To us, the Kobo Aura HD is the Porsche of eReaders and is designed for those in the driver’s seat of their eReading adventures,” said Wayne White, EVP and General Manager of Devices, Kobo. “It’s fast, powerful, and sleek and pushes the boundaries of eReading the same way our Readers do – together, they’ll know no bounds as they find their next great read.”

Kobo pioneered the affordable eReader in May 2010 and has since introduced its Family of eReaders, which includes the Kobo Arc 7” Android tablet, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo and Kobo Touch™ E Ink eReaders, and is now introducing the limited-edition Kobo Aura HD. With more than 13-million users around the world, Kobo has experienced triple-digit growth year-over-year. The company is a driving force behind the adoption of eReading around the world with its award-winning eReaders and tablets, free apps for tablets, PCs and smartphones, and extensive network of booksellers and leading retailers.

Kobo Aura HD will be available for pre-order in North America starting April 16 at www.kobo.com and will be in-stores in Canada and the United Kingdom starting April 25. International availability will begin in May.
For more information about Kobo Aura HD and where to buy, visit www.kobo.com/koboauraHD.

About Kobo Inc.
Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 3.2-million eBooks, magazines and newspapers to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. From its Family of eReaders, which includes the Kobo Touch™, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo and Kobo Arc, to its free, top-ranked eReading applications for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows® products, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

3 thoughts on “Kobo Unveils Aura HD, High-Definition E-Reader (video)

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