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Kobo Launches Its First Touchscreen E-Reader

New York – Kobo unveiled its first touchscreen e-reader, priced it at a suggested $129.99, and dropped the price of its current Kobo Wi-Fi e-reader to $99.99.

The eReader Touch Edition, launched here at the Book Expo America show, is available for preorder at Borders and, in Canada, at Indigo, Best Buy and Walmart. The device will be in stores for purchase in early June in four colors.

Both Kobo models feature Wi-Fi to download books, 6-inch screen with E-Ink technology and 16 levels of grayscale to enable reading in sunlight, 1GB embedded memory, memory-card slot, up to two weeks of battery life, and compatibility with the ePub and PDF e-book formats. The new model, however, boasts availability in six languages for international sales and is slightly smaller at 6.5 by 4.5 by 0.4 inches.

“This is the first eReader you can put in your pocket, take with you anywhere and read for hours just like a real book, with ultimate comfort and no distraction,” claimed Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis.

The device’s zForce infrared touch technology from Neonode enables multitouch control and sweep navigation, which lets users swipe the screen to turn pages. Users can also tap the screen to turn pages. The device’s Real Touch interface lets users highlight a phrase, look up a word, zoom into an image, and increase font size.

A virtual keyboard is also included for navigation.

Kobo was founded in December 2009 and launched its first e-reader, which lacked Wi-Fi, in 2010. The Kobo Wi-Fi was launched last year at $149 and was recently selling for $119.

Kobo’s library of more than 2.3 million books, newspapers and magazines library is also available for download on Samsung and RIM tablets.