The folks over at Kobo have been very busy, with big announcements over the last few weeks.
If you have not used Kobo yet, it is a robust free universal eBook reader for the iPad. It will open and allow you to read many of the eBook formats. And, like the Kindle and iBooks apps is tied to a store of millions of eBooks.
There are a couple new features supported by reading your eBooks in the Kobo iPad app. First, you can annotate your eBooks which syncs to other Kobo readers you may be using on the iPhone or desktop computers. The location your currently at syncs across too so you don’t have to remember where your at in your eBooks from one reader to the next.
The big jump in the release was taking the whole experience of reading a book social. Through the Kobo iPad app, you can choose to see and interact with others reading a eBook that you are. You can share comments and openly discuss with people from around the world. The reading circle group that hasn’t found time to meet anymore is now a circle of like interest people anywhere, anytime.
Maybe of less interest to serious iPad users is that Kobo has released their own 7″ touch screen Kobo color reader ‘tablet’ called the VOX. It falls in with the new trend as a light memory, touch screen, Android based device. Setting it apart from many other in the class is the VOX has a SD memory card slot to expand the available eBook storage and it comes in some fun colors. Wifi is included in the basic unit so the device can be connected all the time. Having the Android OS means it can run other apps as well browse the Internet.
The last item of news is the announcement today on the Kobo blog site that Rakuten has purchased Kobo for $315 Million… cash.
“The acquisition marks a major step forward for Rakuten, one of the world’s top 3 e-commerce companies by revenue, as it continues to expand its unique B2B2C borderless e-commerce business globally, by adding an ecosystem to provide downloadable media products to consumers, starting with eBooks.”
You can read the full release here. We are very excited for the Kobo folks and for the new owners, great things are possible with such a strong group of offerings.