One benefit of owning a Samsung Galaxy Note is the Readers Hub functionality which is a slightly longer drawn out way of accessing the excellent Kobo ebook app. I don’t mind saying that I like the Kobo software very much. While it is not head an shoulders better than Amazon’s Kindle, it just seems to feel better for some reason. And isn’t the enjoyment factor one of the most important aspects of reading after all?
The other thing that I have been doing recently is stroking the boxes of the various Kobo Readers now available in WH Smith, and for some reason those boxes have a nice feeling about them too (where am I going with this?). So I was shocked to find out that Kobo is literally taking the Fire fight to Amazon by releasing their equivalent of the Amazon tablet-come-ereader: the Vox.
Specification wise, the device shapes up quite nicely with a “brilliant FFS+” 7 inch multi-touch screen with a 1024 x 600 resolution that is also optimized for reading outdoors and has an extra wide viewing angle. Certainly a media consumption specification if I ever saw it, and not only constrained to reading but to watching video also. Whether the 800MHz processor impacts this greatly, it should be anticipated that this is aimed squarely at books in the first instance.
The Vox also has a microSD card expansion slot to supplement its 8Gb of memory as well as “open access to Android 2.3“. I am hoping that means the Android Market, but even if not, you should be able to install apps from where you wish, be that the Amazon App Store or GetJar. To counter the ever-so bland appearance of the Fire and that PlayBook thingy, Kobo have decided to spice the cases up with a range of effervescent colours; Lime Green, Hot Pink, Ice Blue and the obligatory Jet Black.
In true style, the Kobo Vox is priced very competitively at $199 which should equate to the £125 price mark. Add on a few extra pounds for the tax man but I think certainly this will set the cat amongst the pigeons at a sub-£150 point. Given that Amazon is Kobo’s primary competitor, I would not expect to see movement on a UK release of the Vox until Amazon decide if and when the Fire will make outside of America. I hope that is soon but current thoughts are around the middle to late 2012 (according to Heavenly Android).
The Vox is now available for US customers priced at $199.99 direct from Kobo.