The Kobo eReader, which has the full backing of the Borders book chain, has set a release date. The device will go on sale June 17, entering a market that was already crowded before Apple put itself in the ring a month ago.
Kobo’s device comes with a pricing advantage, though. At only $149, it is the least expensive of the major eReaders. On the other hand, it’s a relatively bare-bones device, lacking several of the features that the nook or Kindle offer. It sports a six-inch screen, but doesn’t have a 3G connection, letting you download books on the fly, or WiFi. That could hurt it significantly. Audio playback, a less compelling feature, is also missing.
The device does come with 100 classic books preloaded, however. And it uses E Ink, which has generally been a much easier format with which to read eBooks, especially if you’re outside. (The iPad, for all its admirable qualities, is not a device that does well in non-shaded environments. And, technically, it's not exactly an eReader, despite the iBooks app.)
It’s a stab in the dark for Borders, but one that’s not likely to boost its customer base.