Kobo announced today via its company blog that the Kobo Glo and Kobo Mini e-readers are now on sale at Canadian retailers Indigo, Future Shop and Best Buy, and in the U.K. at WHSmith. The $80 Mini and $130 Glo were announced in September, just ahead of the unveiling of Amazon’s new Kindle lineup. Kobo also announced today that its Arc 7-inch Android tablet will be hitting store shelves in November.
The Kobo Mini is the company’s entry-level e-reader, with a 5-inch touch screen and 2GB of onboard storage, while the Glo is a larger 6-inch device that also offers expandable, microSD storage and what Kobo calls a ComfortLight touch display, essentially the same thing that Barnes & Noble’s Nook with GlowLight offers. It’s also similar to Amazon’s Paperwhite technology, with which the Kobo Glo will go head to head – though not in the Canadian and UK markets just yet.
Amazon’s latest e-reader isn’t yet available outside of the U.S., except in its basic form as the latest generation non-touch Kindle. That will give Kobo a running start in both of these markets, and one that could last into the new year, according to some reports. The Arc could also beat the latest Kindle Fire to Canadian customers, though UK shoppers already have access to the Fire and Fire HD.
Kobo, which was acquired by Japanese e-commerce mega-company Rakuten in 2011, is doing a good job of finding success in markets where Amazon has limited or no reach, and is seeking out additional partnerships like the one it has with WH Smith via new office openings this year in Dublin and Luxemberg, according to Publisher’s Weekly. The company also boasted a 50 percent market share of France’s e-book market, the company shared back in April. Addressing gaps in the global market is a great strategy for a relative upstart like Kobo when going against someone with the U.S. e-reader market dominance that Amazon enjoys.
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