Amazon’s Kindle Oasis has a new competitor: The waterproof Kobo Forma

From Ars Technica:

Kobo’s newest e-reader is going after fans of Amazon’s Kindle Oasis. The new Kobo Forma is the company’s most expensive and comprehensive e-reader yet, coming in at $279 and featuring a waterproof design and an E-ink Mobius display.

Seemingly cut from the same cloth as the Kindle Oasis, the Kobo Forma has an 8-inch display with a large bezel on one edge for gripping. This pseudo-chin has buttons in its center that can be used to flip through pages when the device is either landscape or portrait mode. It’s uncommon to see e-readers used in landscape mode, but it’s a cool feature to have for those who may prefer it (possibly after getting used to reading in landscape mode using smartphones or tablets).

The Mobius technology built into the HD E-ink display uses a flexible plastic layer to make the device more durable while keeping it light. Weighing about 195 grams (0.43 pounds), the Kobo Forma can withstand drops from up to two meters, and it also meets IPX8 standards, which means it can withstand being under up to two meters of water for up to 60 minutes. Kobo also claims that the Mobius tech lets the Forma withstand “more bends, twists, full handbags, and overloaded backpacks” than other e-readers.

. . . .

The new e-reader debuts not long after Kobo and Walmart announced their partnership to bring e-books and audiobooks to Walmart customers, and in turn, to more people in the US. Kobo devices and services are popular in Canada, the UK, and other countries, but only recently did the company decide to come back to the US to try to compete with Amazon in the digital reading market.

Through the partnership with Walmart, Kobo e-readers are available in Walmart stores and online, and customers can access Kobo’s library of more than six million e-books and audiobooks through both the Walmart and Kobo mobile apps. The two companies also have a $9.99-per-month audiobook subscription service that, like Amazon’s more expensive Audible, includes one complementary audiobook each month.

Link to the rest at Ars Technica and thanks to Judith for the tip.

8 thoughts on “Amazon’s Kindle Oasis has a new competitor: The waterproof Kobo Forma”

      • Those of us not setting the DRM flag when selling on Amazon won’t have that problem.

        DRM doesn’t stop copying – it only gets in the way of honest buyers …

      • The format is the bigger issue.
        Amazon sells DRM free ebooks that the Kobo won’t read.

        At least directly.
        Indirectly: different story.
        Those in the know can make it work. A lot of enthusiasts with epub readers get the bulk of their ebooks from Amazon, anyway. That is one lesson headed Wal-Mart’s way.

        As for the Forma, I think I’ll pass.
        The paging button (singular, apparently) looks too cheap for a $279 gadget. And landscape reading isn’t at all uncommon. eReaders have been doing it all decade. The better ones also do dual column landscape and many of us prefer that mode. Very ergonomic on the last Sony Readers.

        When I get a new ereader I’ll wait for one of the regularly scheduled Paperwhite sales at a third or less.

  1. Are Kobo books still available in the UK? Last I heard B&N had withdrawn, and Sainsburys had dropped the format.

    In which case, is the Kobo reader simply for the US market?

    • Yes, Kobo is in the UK. Kobo has never had anything to do with Barnes and Noble; that’s the Nook you’re thinking of. Kobo runs the eBook side of many bookstores, including Waterstone’s (and probably several others) in England.

      Kobo is supposedly the biggest eBook retailer in Europe (larger than Amazon in some markets), though is still a distant second to Amazon worldwide and an even more distant fourth in the US (falling below both the failing Nook brand and Apple’s iBookstore, though Kobo’s recent heavily-publicized deal with Walmart may change that).

      • Kobo has the distinction of being biggest in the smallest markets. 🙂
        (The bigger the market, the smaller their presence.)

        A lot of its “biggest in Europe” claim comes from serving as the backend for the Tolino alliance but that is somewhat dated as Tolino had fallen behind Kindle before the alliance signed up with Kobo.

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