Kobo was rather quiet lately in terms of new eReader models, but it was obviously working on something. Today, we can see the fruits of that work in the new Kobo Touch Edition eReader launched at only $129 ($10 gift card for ebooks also included). Displayed at BookExpo America for the first time, Kobo eReader Touch Edition brings a six inches eInk screen doubled by a touchscreen based on infra-red technology that does not lower the contrast of the screen like Sony eReaders. The new touchscreen also enables gestures (zoom and swipe) and features a new touch keyboard. Design wise, the new layout resembles the one from Apple (iPhone, iPad) which a unique button at the bottom to take you home.
If you remember the previous Kobo eReader models, they were rather slow and low contrast. The new model improves both with a new faster Freescale i.MX507 CPU which will greatly increase the page to page turn and a new generation of eInk Pearl (the same from Kindle 3) with a much greater contrast. Hardware wise, the reader can be charged via its microUSB connector and its 1GB internal memory can be upgraded via its included microSDHC memory slot. The eBook formats supported include ePub and PDF.
Kobo eReader Touch is also the first (at least if you believe Kobo’s announcement) to feature an international experience with several languages supported (English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian) and offering a local experience including local recommendations and local store experience. The social aspects are not forgotten either, you are able to use Twitter and Facebook straight from the device, and we have to admit that a touchscreen would greatly improve the user experience. And, if you need regular reminders that reading is good for you, Kobo’s Reading Life application tracks your activity — what, how much and how long a user reads — gives you awards based on the progress.
Check after the break for additional technical specifications. We’ll also try to get a sample for review as soon as possible. Read More…