Kobo introduces the Vox to go head to head with the Fire
Kobo undoubtedly suffered a blow when Borders went under (they were content partners), but they were around before them and they shook up the market today.
They introduced the
It’s a color, backlit, 8GB, wi-fi only, 7″ Android tablet…for $199.99.
Sound familiar? ;)
First, let’s get a couple of gut reactions out of the way.
Why would you name a mobile device the Vox (Latin for “voice”) when it isn’t a phone? I know, it’s because it is from Vox Populi, or the voice of the people. That’s what they are promoting…the social aspects.
The other thing is…making it ninety-nine cents more than the Kindle Fire?
The tablet market is so splintered, it’s hard to do direct comparisons…but when people ask which is cheaper, the Fire or the Vox, the answer is the Fire. Why not just price it the same?
Okay, let’s get to the bigger things.
Yes, it will cut into the Fire’s market a bit, in my opinion. Unlike the reflective screen EBR (E-Book Reader) market, I don’t think the tablet market is quite bringing so many more people into it in the same way. That’s not that I don’t think the tablet market is expanding, I do. However, I think EBRs were new purchases in a category…there are still many people buying them who don’t think of them as the same sort of device they’ve had before. I’m not sure that people think of a tablet as a new breed in the same way…I’m not sure they don’t equate it to a little laptop at this point.
However, I do think the Fire will hugely outsell the Vox…and be a better buy.
Let’s start with the Fire’s Silk browser. This is really innovative in the mainstream. Quick! Why do you want a tablet? I’m guessing that it’s for web on the go on a bigger screen than your SmartPhone.
I do think the Silk browser is going to give us something that makes other people jealous.
Next, there’s the question of cloud storage…they both store your books for you for free…but Amazon also stores your music, movies…even personal documents (up to 5GB) for free, as long as you got them from Amazon.
One of the biggest things: Kobo is a content seller of e-books. Amazon is a content seller of video, music, apps, and more. That’s going to be a huge strength, both in perception and in seamless operation.
Now, some other comparisons:
The Fire is a tad smaller.
The Fire’s battery life seems to me to be a bit better, but it’s hard to tell. Kobo says 7 hours, Fire says 8…but it’s pretty clear, with web browsing, all bets are off.
The Vox will win for some people on the operating system, because it is a more standard Android version, increasing compatibility.
The Kobo does EPUB…I think that’s less of an issue for people now that libraries do Kindle books.
The Kobo has a memory slot for up to 32GB…that’s going to matter for some folks.
My sense of it? Content is king. The Fire will sell more. However, for people who don’t want Amazon (and they must be out there), and for Canadians (Kobo is a Canadian company with connections to Indigo…and in Canada, it appears some e-books have been pulled from Amazon and are available at Indigo), there’s a solid slice of the market for it. It also ships a couple of weeks earlier…October 28. Some people aren’t very patient, I’ve noticed. ;)
You may not have to choose, though…they are giving away ten of them through Halloween:
No purchase necessary…of course, you are entered every time a book from them during the contest period. If you don’t want to purchase anything, you can send them a postcard…because nothing says cutting edge technology more than a 4″ by 6″ piece of cardstock. ;)
For more information, see this
What do you think? Is this competition for the Fire? Does Amazon need to step up the social aspects of Kindle life…maybe leveraging Shelfari…to compete more effectively? Is this another industry footnote, or a real player? Does content matter? Does EPUB matter?
Feel free to let me know.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.