The future of reading may well be using an eBook reader as opposed to a printed paper book, but Kobo is adding a few other functions to the mix.
In the world of the eBook, there are two major players — Kindle and Kobo — and each of them offer little differences.
For Amazon’s Kindle, an update was recently made in the Paperwhite range, offering models that offered a warmer lighting style for what you read, with one getting wireless charging.
Over in the world of Rakuten’s Kobo, the style is a bit different, especially now. Two models are being announced this week, and while they’re variations on a theme, they change the theme slightly.
New to the Kobo family are the Kobo Libra 2 and the Kobo Sage, slightly different approaches to eReaders that change how you might read a book. While most eReaders offer you one style of reading — upright — both the Libra 2 and Safe are rectangular and can be held in either landscape or portrait, giving you a slightly wide or slightly tall.
The Libra 2 is the less expensive of the two, but offers a 7 inch HD electronic ink screen, 32GB storage, and water resistance, plus Bluetooth too let you listen to audiobooks from the eReader if you’re into that and have a pair of wireless headphones.
It’ll also support a form of lighting with brightness and temperature control, providing a way of reading eBooks in various lighting scenarios. Priced at $279.99 in Australia, it’s one of the first eBook readers from Kobo with Bluetooth, and won’t be the only one.
A second model is arriving in the Sage, an 8 inch take on the eBook reader with 32GB storage, the controllable lighting technology, Bluetooth and water resistance, and there’s a new trick, as well: support for a pen.
The Kobo Sage will support a stylus to let owners scribble notes and draw in the eReader, a little like Kobo’s previous eReader, and the ReMarkable tablet, another eInk device with support for a stylus. It’s a change on the conventional approach to tablets, with a little more than just reading thrown in.
Rakuten is also supporting a new accessory, the PowerCover, which covers its Sage eBook reader and keeps the device charged, effectively handling two birds with one stone.
“With Kobo Sage, our world-class product designers took the digital reading experience even further with support for the compatible Kobo Stylus so readers can really engage with their eBooks, making notes, marking up eBooks and highlighting notable passages for active, insightful reading,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo.
“The introduction of the new premium PowerCover for Kobo Sage is another exciting addition, keeping your eReader protected and charged while you’re on-the-go to maximise your reading time,” he said. “From reading and writing to listening to Kobo Audiobooks, Kobo Sage does it all—and now with even more battery life.”
Rakuten hasn’t noted quite how long that is, though with eBook readers often capable of lasting several weeks, we’d expect the battery life to be near that.
We should know how long that will be shortly, though, with the Kobo Sage and Libra 2 set to arrive in Australia from October 19, with the Kobo Libra 2 priced at $279.99 and the Sage priced at $439.95 locally.