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Kobo Unveils New Touch Model, Available in Two Weeks

May 24 2011, 5:12pm CDT | by , in News | Portable Devices

Kobo Unveils New Touch Model, Available in Two Weeks

Little E-Reader That Could Pushes Ahead

Kobo, the e-reader company that usually gets swept under the rug by the Nook and Kindle, officially kicked off its media campaign for the new Kobo Touch model that will be coming out in time for Father's Day.

The new version of the Kobo sticks with the company's focus on having a simplistic, accessible e-reading experience that anyone can pick up and enjoy. Unlike the iPad or Nook Color, it uses a black-and-white e-ink display. Unlike the Kindle, it doesn't have a keypad.

All it does it present digital books in a simple and easy manner. It doesn't even bother with extraneous apps or games. That helps keep the price low but also allows the device to be as user-friendly as possible. With the addition of a touch-screen, searching for books and paging through them is easier than ever.

The Kobo Touch also incorporates the Reading Life platform, which gives users various "rewards" for accomplishing reading tasks, like reaching a total of 10,000 pages or accumulating a certain number of reading hours at night. Those rewards can then be shared via Facebook, turning the process of reading into a completely social experience.

Many people associate Kobo with Borders, and with the seemingly inevitable collapse of the book retailer, the fate of Kobo seemed somewhat uncertain. However, the company is strengthening its partnership with other retailers and distributors so it's more bullish than ever on how many users it can reach.

More than 3 million Kobo units have been sold so far, and Kobo expects to hit 4 million very soon. That doesn't put it in the same category as the Kindle, but it's far ahead of what some had predicted for the newbie e-reader competitor as it went head-to-head with such heavyweights in this product category.

The device will be available in time for Father's Day, Kobo said, but a specific release date was not confirmed. It's set to retail for around $130.

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