If you pre-ordered Kobo’s newest ereader because it was a premium device, you might want to rethink that decision. E-ink announced new screen tech today and the Aura doesn’t have it.
I have just received confirmation that the early hands on reports were correct. E-ink’s 4th-gen Carta screen tech wasn’t used in the Aura; it can only be found in the not-yet-released Kindle Paperwhite.
It was pretty clear when Kobo launched the 3 new Android tablets and the new Aura ereader last week that the 3 tablets in question had unremarkable specs compared to what is currently on the market and weren’t really worth waiting for, but the Aura got quite a bit of favorable coverage:
- Courting All Bookworms, Kobo Debuts 3 New Reading-Friendly Arc Tablets, A New Aura E-Reader, And A Plan To Gain An Edge Over Amazon (TechCrunch)
- Hands On With the Super-Light Kobo Aura E-Reader (Mashable)
- Kobo Aura: New Kindle competitor sports classy design, higher price (CNET Reviews)
The 2013 Paperwhite is due out at the end of the month, and at this point it looks like it will be the only ereader with the new Carta screen tech. (TBH, without the new Carta screen I didn’t think even the Paperwhite was worth upgrading to. )
The Paperwhite has the same screen resolution as the Aura, and both have frontlights and touchscreens, but the Paperwhite will offer a greater contrast and a more reflective screen while still making use of the latest improvements that E-ink has made in providing smoother page turns.
And to make matters worse, the Paperwhite can be had for $30 less (with ads). Just about the only hardware advantage that the Aura has now is that it has more storage and a microSD card slot.
At this point the Aura is beginning to look more and more like an incremental improvement upon the Kobo Glo. It has a faster CPU, improved frontlight, and better screen refresh tech, but it also has a higher price tag.
Kobo was talking this past week that they had a plan to get an edge on Amazon. I wonder if launching unimpressive tablets and an ereader that used last year’s screen tech was part of the plan?
I reported on the new E-ink tech in another post. That post was neutrally worded. This one expresses an opinion, so I posted it separately.
And while I did read that hint last week, i wasn’t completely sure that Amazon had actual new screen tech until E-ink announced Carta this morning. The Regal waveform tech that improved the screen refresh (last week’s news) is a nice incremental improvement on past work but it really is only an incremental improvement.