Kobo Kindles The Fire, Announces Kobo Vox Tablet

Posted by · October 19, 2011 12:36 pm

Following the lead taken by Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Canadian e-reader manufacturer Kobo has stepped into the tablet ring with its own Android-powered tablet. Hoping to bypass the $249 Nook Color, Kobo is clearly targeting the front-running Kindle Fire by matching its more attractive $199 price tag.

To be sure, Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis used an interview with the LA Times Technology blog back in May to make sure that consumers knew what company he wanted to catch. “We’re gunning for Amazon,” he commented as Kobo was releasing its eReader Touch Edition.

With its 7-inch, high-resolution, anti-glare, multi-touch display, the new Kobo Vox is certainly impressive from the outset. Additional specs include 8GB of storage memory, a microSD card slot that handles up to 32GB cards, an 800MHz processor, and 512MB of RAM. And although it isn’t a pragmatic feature, Kobo has attempted to set its tablet apart from the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire by making the Vox available “hot pink,” “lime green,” and “ice blue” in addition to the more standard “jet black.”

One setback: the Vox is operating on a substandard version of Google’s Android OS—Android 2.3, also known as Gingerbread. Despite being a widely popular operating system, Google designed Gingerbread specifically for cell phones, not tablets.

However, Kobo fans will be happy to hear that the Vox will come preloaded with Kobo’s Reading Life application, which provides reading stats for those who like to keep extra detailed tabs on their reading habits and enjoy a bit of a reward for reaching certain milestones for their reading progress. The popular app also integrates with Facebook and Twitter for convenient sharing.

According to Kobo, the Vox is currently available for pre-order, but they will not ship until October 28, conveniently giving itself a head start on the Kindle Fire, which doesn’t begin shipping until mid-November.

So there you have it. Three companies. Three attractively priced Android tablets. But there can only be one Apple iPad.

As Apple maintains a clear lead in the tablet market, it seems consumers are still looking for a little more than an Android operating system and a cheap price tag.