The Kobo eReader, which has the full backing of the Borders
book chain, has set a release date. The device will go on sale June 17, entering
a market that was already crowded before Apple put itself in the ring a month
Kobo’s device comes with a pricing advantage, though. At
only $149, it is the least expensive of the major eReaders. On the other hand,
it’s a relatively bare-bones device, lacking several of the features that the
nook or Kindle offer. It sports a six-inch screen, but doesn’t have a 3G
connection, letting you download books on the fly, or WiFi. That could hurt it
significantly. Audio playback, a less compelling feature, is also missing.
The device does come with 100 classic books preloaded,
however. And it uses E Ink, which has generally been a much easier format with
which to read eBooks, especially if you’re outside. (The iPad, for all its
admirable qualities, is not a device that does well in non-shaded
environments. And, technically, it’s not exactly an eReader, despite the iBooks app.)
It’s a stab in the dark for Borders, but one that’s not
likely to boost its customer base.