By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – E-reader company Kobo is diving deeper into tablets.
During a press conference yesterday, the Toronto-based company launched three new Google-certified Android color tablets, unveiled a new black-and-white e-reader, and unveiled new services.
The company previously offered a single color tablet alongside four black-and-white dedicated e-readers.
Kobo’s Arc 10HD color tablet optimized for readers.
Although Kobo CEO and founder Mike Serbinis declared his e-reader sales are not in decline, he unveiled three new color tablets focused on reading as the premier use case.
He also unveiled new services.
Two new color tablets with new Reading Life user interface and Reading Mode function for heavy readers are the Arc 10HD and Arc 7 HD, both of which are Android 4.2.2 tablets that will be available October 16.
The 16GB Arc 10 will be available at a suggested $399 with 10-inch HD 2,560 by 1,600 display with 300 pixels per inch.
The 7-inch Arc 7HD is priced at $199 for the 16GB edition and $249 for the 32GB edition with 1,920 by 1,200 resolution and 223 pixels per inch.
Other Arc 10HD features include Nvidia Tegra 4 1.8GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, front-facing 1.3 MP HD camera, dual stereo speakers, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and Miracast. It’s available in black.
The Arc 7HD features Nvidia Tegra 3 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a front-facing 1.3 MP HD camera.
The two tablets feature a Reading Life user interface that sits on top of Android to display a home page filled with a user’s books and magazines.The home screen can be swiped to one side to reveal the traditional Android UI.
The tablets also come with a Reading Mode, which shuts off notifications and pop-ups from email, apps and social media, optimizes the lighting settings for reading, and extends the tablet battery life from hours to days. In the case of the Arc10HD, battery life is boosted from 9.5 hours to more than 10 days.
A third tablet, the $149-suggested 8GB Arc 7, is designed for first-time users. It will also be available in October with 7-inch 1,024 by 600 display, MTK 8125 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM.
In dedicated e-readers, Kobo unveiled the next-generation Aura at a suggested $149. It will be in stores Sept. 16.
The front-lit 6-inch e-reader, available in black and pink, adds an edge-to-edge display and improved ComfortLight front-light technology. It’s also thinner and lighter than the current model. The 4GB, front-lit e-reader also boasts a new low-flash waveform screen that “virtually eliminates flashing” when pages are are flipped.
The Pearl E Ink screen features 212 dpi resolution. A 32MB memory-card slot is included.
New services include Beyond the Book, which highlights words in text to link to additional content about a subject. A Collections service will highlight lists of recommended books curated by experts, authors and celebrities. A new kids store launching in the fall will allow for safe searches, allowances that kids can use to buy books and awards for kids who read.
A new magazine experience launching in September in North America for the company’s tablets and tablet apps will preserve a magazine’s layout and artwork “but go beyond the standard replica experience” with multimedia experiences, animations, and the ability to view thumbnails of all pages along a bar at the bottom of the screen.
In addition, a new Pocket service lets users clip articles on the web for storage in their device for later reading.
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