When the Nexus 7 hit the market, we wondered if it would force other manufacturers to lower their prices without lowering the specs on new devices. We're going to find out later if Amazon has taken Google's warning shot on board, but in the meantime, the Kobo Arc tablet has just been announced and it's seriously impressive. Be afraid, Nexus 7: the Kobo is coming to ruin your Christmas.
The Kobo Arc is a 7-inch tablet powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It comes in both 8GB and 16GB flavours with a 1280 x 800 pixel IPS screen coated in scratch- and fingerprint-resistant glass.
It's even the same price as the Nexus 7, with the 8GB Kobo Arc set to cost $249, with the 16GB model priced at $299. Unless stores like JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman put a premium on the device, you're likely to pay a bit less for the Kobo Arc than the Nexus 7 come-launch day.
The Nexus 7 doesn't have much over the Arc: it's boasting a quad-core rather than a dual-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
One nifty thing the Arc does have over the Nexus is a feature called Tapestries. It's inspired by social networks like Pinterest and it's the weirdest content curation feature I've ever heard of. Here's how I had it explained to me:
Say you're reading the Steve Jobs biography, and it references a particular song a few times. Tapestries goes and recommends that song to you based on you reading it in your book. Then if you listen to the song it could recommend an article that connects both the book and the song together.
It's less of a content recommendation engine and more of a feature than can broaden your horizons the more you use it. Eat that, Google Now.
The Arc is at the top of Kobo's new range of e-readers which includes the 5-inch, $99 Kobo Mini (pictured left) designed for gift-givers and the 6-inch, $149 Kobo Glo (pictured right) which includes a backlit screen, customisable fonts and cases.
As far as release dates are concerned, the Kobo Mini and Kobo Glo will hit shelves in October, while the Arc will arrive in November, perhaps just in time to make Nexus 7 users reconsider their tablet purchases.
We'll find out if it's a Nexus-killer when we go hands-on soon.
Which would you choose: Nexus 7 or Kobo Arc?