Kobo's New 7-Inch Tablet Is A Solid Nexus 7 Challenger

When the Nexus 7 hit the market, we wondered if it would force other manufacturers to lower their prices without lowering the specs on new devices. We're going to find out later if Amazon has taken Google's warning shot on board, but in the meantime, the Kobo Arc tablet has just been announced and it's seriously impressive. Be afraid, Nexus 7: the Kobo is coming to ruin your Christmas.

The Kobo Arc is a 7-inch tablet powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It comes in both 8GB and 16GB flavours with a 1280 x 800 pixel IPS screen coated in scratch- and fingerprint-resistant glass.

It's even the same price as the Nexus 7, with the 8GB Kobo Arc set to cost $249, with the 16GB model priced at $299. Unless stores like JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman put a premium on the device, you're likely to pay a bit less for the Kobo Arc than the Nexus 7 come-launch day.

The Nexus 7 doesn't have much over the Arc: it's boasting a quad-core rather than a dual-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

One nifty thing the Arc does have over the Nexus is a feature called Tapestries. It's inspired by social networks like Pinterest and it's the weirdest content curation feature I've ever heard of. Here's how I had it explained to me:

Say you're reading the Steve Jobs biography, and it references a particular song a few times. Tapestries goes and recommends that song to you based on you reading it in your book. Then if you listen to the song it could recommend an article that connects both the book and the song together.

It's less of a content recommendation engine and more of a feature than can broaden your horizons the more you use it. Eat that, Google Now.

The Arc is at the top of Kobo's new range of e-readers which includes the 5-inch, $99 Kobo Mini (pictured left) designed for gift-givers and the 6-inch, $149 Kobo Glo (pictured right) which includes a backlit screen, customisable fonts and cases.

As far as release dates are concerned, the Kobo Mini and Kobo Glo will hit shelves in October, while the Arc will arrive in November, perhaps just in time to make Nexus 7 users reconsider their tablet purchases.

We'll find out if it's a Nexus-killer when we go hands-on soon.

Which would you choose: Nexus 7 or Kobo Arc?

Republished from Gizmodo


    This looks sweet. Isn't competition a wonderful thing?
    Beware - it has rounded corners and its white... Litigation anyone?

    The acid test is whether you can read a book in full sunlight, like you can with the Kindle.

      i can read ebooks on the nexus 7 in full sunlight

      You are comparing apples to oranges by comparing e-ink with an LCD screen. e-ink blows the doors off of LCD in almost all cases in direct sunlight. That said, to echo Nicky above, my Nexus 7 holds its own very well in direct sunlight. The rebuttal question would have to be, "Can the Kindle play a full-color HD movie?" Again, apples to oranges.

    hmm i wonder what happens to the people reading 50 shades of grey if Tapestries would start recommending them bondage gear

    really...? "The Nexus 7 doesn’t have much over the Arc: it’s boasting a quad-core rather than a dual-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean."

    So other than the MUCH better processor, pure google experience with the latest software and availability at some point in the near future...? Hang on, is there a single reason someone would buy this over a Nexus?

    tl;dr - I don't get this article. SEO linkbait, or 5pm and want to go home article?

      I see nothing in this article that makers the Kobo a better choice than the Nexus 7.
      Nothing at all.

    I'd still buy a Nexus, if only for the updates directly from Google. I'd also wager that a Tapestries apk will be available soon on XDA.

    The hardware advantage is totally in Nexus favor. The price is the same. His argument rests on one application and even that argument assumes the app won't be available for the Nexus or the iPad or the much anticipated soon to come iPad Mini.

    The Nexus 7 is a much superior device because of its Tegra 3 Quad Core processor with 12 core GPU which blows this dual core Kobo away. How can you even compare the two? Also, the Nexus 7 has Jelly Bean which is a newer OS than Ice Cream Sandwich on the Kobo and the Nexus 7...since it is a Google Nexus device will always get any OS updates and improvements first before any other tablet. Anyone that buys this Kobo over a Nexus 7 is making a poor buying decision...most likely by poorly informed tech journalists like the one that wrote this article.

    For those of us who could care less about the novelty of an app like Tapestries, the device really comes across as missing the Nexus 7 mark in every respect. And unless I'm missing something, the price is way off with the Nexus 7 beating both Kobo models by $50. While I certainly welcome competition in this market--it's only good for consumers-- this doesn't seem to be much competition to the Nexus 7.

      Could care less means you care more.


    I own a Nexus 7, Ausus Transformer Infinity, Ipad 3 Iphone 4, and i have to say, any new device in the 7" device category, has it's work cut out even comming close to the Nexus 7, price is not even a factor, because the devices would need to be so spec similar that price would be the definer, in this case the Kobo, doesnt even have that, and as the Nexus 7 Dev community is in full roar, Kobo, will not gain on the nexus 7, especially, as all the gaming push on Andorid is towards Tegra enhanced games.

    So while any reasonably handy person can clock their Nexus 7 up-to 1.8ghz via custom kernels, and play Horn, and all the other Tegra enhanced games, the Kobo, just is something new but not even closely good enough to win the 7" category, bring something better or new, not something blah yawn to the geek's.

    If geeks dont like it, develop for it, then you better be apple, otherwise fail.

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