Kobo pre-empts Kindle with three new readers

One of the biggest competitors to Amazon’s Kindle electronic book reader has just pulled the covers from three new products, heading to Australian stores shortly and offering anyone with at least a hundred bucks an eBook reader in a nifty paperback size.

While the gradual demise of traditional paper books and their respective stores is a touch saddening, the ability to carry hundreds of books with you in a small and slim size has been welcomed by readers across the planet, with eBooks now beginning to outsell their physical paper counterparts.

Kobo today is introducing three new ways to read, two of which feature the easy-on-the-eyes electronic ink display systems, while one offers more than just reading support with a tablet design.

Coming from the traditional paperback format, the Kobo Mini is a 5 inch eReader that can fit into basically anything. There’s 2GB of storage on offer, able to hold up to roughly 1000 books, with support for WiFi and a touch friendly electronic ink (e-ink) screen, allowing readers to swipe at the display to turn the page.

An inexpensive price makes it possible for anyone to dabble in eBook readers, with a $99.99 RRP when it hits stores in October.

Moving up from here is the Kobo Glo, a front-lit eBook reader with a 6 inch e-ink touchscreen with internal storage, microSD slot, WiFi, and a technology in the display called “ComfortLight” which Kobo says should allow readers to get stuck into their books comfortable in day or night.

The Glo will come in at $159.99 RRP in October, but if you want more than just an eReader, Kobo is introducing its Kindle Fire competitor locally, with the Kobo Arc hitting from $249.99 in November.

More than just an eBook reader, the Arc is a 7 inch touchscreen tablet running Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” and featuring access to the Kobo book store, as well as support for your regular Android goodness, such as the Play Store, web browsing, emails, and more.

We’re hearing that the Kobo Arc features a dual-core processor, high-definition 720p screen, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, and is preloaded with apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Rdio, and the magazine reader Zinio.

Looking at it, the Arc looks set to take on Google’s Nexus 7, with a $249 price for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB against the Nexus 7’s retail price of $319 for a 16GB tablet.

The range is scheduled to hit stores from October to November, though pre-orders can be found at the Collins Books website.

Current stockists for the available Kobo range include Officeworks, JB HiFi, The Good Guys, and Harvey Norman, so we’d expect some of these would be selling the Kobo products when they go on sale.