Kobo introduces the Forma e-reader

Kobo is releasing a new premium e-reader and I have one (excited) word to say: BUTTONS!!!!

The Kobo Forma, (Kobo’s answer to the Kindle Oasis) takes blends features of the Kobo Aura One with some of the popular features from Amazon’s high-end e-reader.

Features:

  • The new Kobo Forma features an eight inch display, which is larger than both the Aura One (7.8 inches) and the Kindle Oasis (7 inches).
  • Like the Aura One, the Forma is IPX8  rated and is immersible up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of fresh water.
  • At 197 grams, the Kobo Forma is lighter than both the Kobo Aura One and the Kindle Oasis.
  • The Kobo Forma and the Aura One both feature Kobo’s ComfortLight PRO lighting which reduces blue-light exposure for the best nighttime reading. The Kindle Oasis, on the other hand, has an adjustable light sensor, but does not reduce blue light.
  • Like the rest of Kobo’s e-reader line up, the Kobo Forma features integration with Rakuten’s Overdrive system for libraries. (**Dependent on library participation: Overdrive is available through public libraries in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.)

What’s new and exciting:

There are a couple of important features that differentiate the Kobo Forma from other devices in the Kobo lineup. The Forma has added physical page turn buttons. The back of the Forma is flat and, instead, the buttons are placed on an angled section that is slightly thicker than the rest of the device.

The new hardware also features a gyro so the device can be used either right or left handed as well as in landscape and portrait modes.

Sleep cover:

There is an interesting Kobo sleep cover for the Forma. The design is Similar to the original Origami covers Amazon offered for some of their e-readers and Fire tablets. The Forma sleep cover is priced at $49.99.

Storage, Price and Availability:

The Kobo Forma has 8 GB of storage. The 32 Gb version of the device will only initially be availabe in Japan, with other countries to follow at a later, unspecified date. Price for the Forma is $279.99, which is $50 more than the Aura One’s $229.99 price tag.

The Kobo Forma is available for pre-order now and will be released on October 23, 2018. You can find the complete specs here.

My thoughts:

Mostly, I use my Kobo Aura One for library books (some books are only available in an epub format and can’t be borrowed on the Kindle). I also buy books on sale through the Google Play store which require Adobe Digital editions to download. Since I bought my Oasis, trying to read on the Kobo Aura One has been harder for me because I really, really miss the page turn buttons. Personally, I am going to be watching the reviews on this one carefully. I am thinking that it may be a good candidate for a backup eInk reader.

What do you think?

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Names, features, wishlists and new Kindle rumors

voyageThe tech world and the ebook aficionados have been buzzing with speculations on the upcoming new 8th-generation Kindle that was announced by Jeff Bezos himself last week.

The Digital Reader, Teleread and the eBook Reader all have great articles on both the speculation and the rumors about the new device, including the name. There are also a number of threads on Mobileread, KBoards and the Kindle forums discussing the new new device’s potential features.

So, here’s a brief synopsis/roundup of some of the speculation at this point:

Kindle or Tablet: Since Jeff Bezos said that this was going to be the eighth generation, most people assume that this device will be either an e-ink Kindle or possibly have a Liquavista color screen.

Screen size: The screen size for the device is unknown.

Name: Kindle Oasis – According to Mobileread, a page spotted on Amazon Japan (no longer available) indicates that the device will be called the Oasis. Now, there’s a lot of speculation as to what exactly that name refers to. Some are suggesting that it means the new device will have be waterproof. Others are suggesting that it implies a Liquavista color screen.

Features:  There’s been a lot of discussion on possible features for the new Kindle. There has also been some talk about a new basic Kindle. This would not be the first time Amazon has introduced more than one new product at a time. Bezos indicated the new Kindle will be “top of the line,” a position the Kindle Voyage now inhabits. Since the new device is apparently not called the Voyage 2, we can only assume the new model will add a number of new features.

Some of the possibilities are:

Better front lighting – Some of the early Voyage e-readers had problems with the front lighting and from what I read on the forums, some people are still not happy with the way the device looks now.

Waterproof – Since Barnes & Noble and Kobo both have waterproof readers, some think that this is a natural next step for a new Kindle feature.

Page Turn Buttons – Not everyone is totally happy with the haptic feedback on the Kindle Voyage. There’s still a call for device with dedicated physical buttons for turning pages.

Bluetooth – Initially, Bluetooth seemed an odd feature to add in an e-ink type of Kindle. However, a Bluetooth keyboard could be paired with the device for easier notetaking. Bluetooth would also allow for the use of a hands-free page turning feature.

Text to speech – The Kindle keyboard was the last Kindle with text to speech functionality. While all the Fire tablets are capable of text to speech, it’s one of the most requested features to be brought back to the Kindle line.

Battery Case: I have seen iterations of ideas on these cases: Some ideas suggest a thinner Kindle with the battery in the case. Others suggest speakers and Bluetooth integration in the case for either text to speech or audio book use. Still others are suggesting a solar powered case coming in the near future.

Who’s going to buy one?

While obviously no one knows for sure until we hear the details about the new Kindle, people seem to be falling into several distinct categories when discussing the possibility of a purchase:

  • I will definitely buy the latest Kindle that comes out.
  • I am trying not to be tempted (but may or may not cave when I see it)
  • I will buy one if it has ________. [Fill in the blank with a feature]
  • My current Kindle ______ works just fine. [Fill in the blank with a Kindle model]

In the meantime,  Amazon has slashed prices on its current lineup of e-ink Kindles and some of the Fire Tablets. Are they clearing out inventory to make way for the new models? The continued price cuts on current models, particularly the seldom discounted Voyage, seem to be further fueling the speculation.

So how about you?  Have you heard any other good rumors or have a feature to speculate on? Is there a special feature on your personal Kindle wishlist?Are you waiting with bated breath for the new device announcement?Do we have a pool going for the news release?  How does Tuesday or Wednesday sound?. 🙂