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Kobo and the Vox tablet are "gunning for Amazon"

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(Read caption) Kobo is calling this generation e-reader – which offers full open access – the Vox after "vox populi," or "voice of the people.

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It looks like Kobo is after some Amazon market share.

The Canadian firm announced Wednesday the Kobo Vox, a low-priced Android tablet ringing in at a Kindle Fire-matching price of $199.99. The updated offering – a touch-screen Android-operated e-reader – and the low price point keeps Kobo in step with Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook. Though the Canadian company occupies a much smaller market share than its competitors, “it will match its rivals and won’t be left behind as it competes to be the third-place e-reader with sights set on growing in stature and sales,” writes The LA Times.

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"We're gunning for Amazon," Kobo Chief Executive Michael Serbinis told the LA Times Technology blog in a May interview.

The sleek, black Wi-Fi-only tablet has a multi-touch 7-inch screen with 1024 x 600 resolution, covered in an anti-glare coating for outdoor reading. Kobo’s signature black quilted plastic design on the back remains in place on the Vox, and they’ve added a colored plastic band around the sides of the e-reader, available in hot pink, lime green, ice blue, and jet black. The Vox also has 8 gigabytes of storage (plus a microSD card drive for another 32 gigabytes in external storage), an 800-megahertz processor, and 512 megabytes of RAM.

Interestingly, Kobo is calling this generation e-reader the Vox after "vox populi," or "voice of the people." Unlike the Kindle Fire and the Nook Color, the “People’s Reader” uses a less-modified version of Google’s Android operating system known as Gingerbread (Android 2.3), which offers full open access. It allows users to surf the web, purchase applications, and download Kobo e-books, as well as connect with friends on social media, listen to music, watch movies, play games, and more.

Kobo, the most popular e-book retailer in Canada, began taking pre-orders for the Vox Wednesday and the e-reader will start shipping October 28, ahead of the Kindle Fire – which is yet to be available in Canada.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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