By now you surely must have heard of the Amazon Kindle Fire. A budget tablet with decent processing power. It runs a heavily customized version of android and is due to start shipping on the 15th of November.
However it might be challenged properly for the first time by the Canadian eBook manufacturer, Kobo. Kobo Vox is quite similar to the Kindle Fire and will be priced at $199, akin to the Kindle Fire and also runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread although hopefully not as customized (nerfed). It also shares the same 7″ screen size. However it has a unique feature: AFFS+ technology that will allow much easier outdoor reading than say, a iPad. The technology might not sound familiar but it is used in areoplane cockpits for their great viewing angle. And of course unlike most eReaders, it will support full color.
The Kobo has a few included apps like their own eReader app and Zinio and PressReader’s digital magazine service. It will also have Twitter and Facebook along with some games (no idea what ones yet).
Now, like the Amazon Kindle Fire it won’t have access to Google’s own Android Market but rather a custom ‘open app store‘ which is a shame as some apps like Gmail and Google Maps will not be available. I’m really disappointed in this; the last thing Android needs is more fragmentation, this time with app stores.
The Kobo Vox is meant to be a social eReader, basically meaning you can connect with other Kobo book lovers and discuss books. It is a good way to make eBooks different from regular books; currently they are viewed as just normal books on a computer/eReader.
Nice concept Kobo, but unless the app store becomes the Google default I won’t be buying it.