The Kobo eReader is an e-reader produced by Toronto-based Kobo Inc. The company's name is an anagram of "book". The original version was released in May 2010 and was marketed as a minimalist alternative to the more expensive e-book readers available at the time. Like most e-readers, the Kobo uses an electronic ink screen.[1] The LCD tablet versions were released between 2011 and 2013.[2]

E Ink devices

Chronological Overview

Model Display Input Storage CPU Connectivity Features / Notes Dimensions Weight Introductory price Released
Type Size Resolution ppi Internal Expanded Make and model USB + (US$)
Kobo eReader E-Ink 6" 800x600 170 D-Pad 1 GB (1,000 books) 4 GB SD Bluetooth $199 May 2010
Kobo WiFi E-Ink 6" 800x600 170 D-Pad 1 GB (1,000 books) 32 GB SD Wi-Fi 184 × 120 × 10 mm (7.2 × 4.7 × 0.4 in) 221 g (7.80 oz) $199 October 2010
Kobo Touch E-Ink Pearl 6" 800x600 170 Touch 2 GB (1,500 books) 32 GB microSD 800MHz Freescale i.MX507 Wi-Fi First touchscreen. 165 × 114 × 10 mm (6.5 × 4.5 × 0.4 in) 200 g (7.05 oz) $129 May 2011
Kobo Glo E-Ink Pearl 6" 1024x768 213 Touch 2 GB (1,500 books) 32 GB microSD 1GHz Wi-Fi First illuminated display. 114 x 157 x 10 mm (4.5 x 6.2 x 0.4 in) 185 g (6.5 oz) $129 September 2012
Kobo Mini E-Ink Pearl 5" 800x600 200 Touch 2 GB (1,500 books) 32 GB microSD 800MHZ Freescale i.MX507 Wi-Fi 102 x 133 x 10 mm (4 x 5.2 x 0.4 in) 134 g (4.73 oz) $79 September 2012
Kobo Aura HD E-Ink Pearl 6.8" 1440x1080 265 Touch 4 GB (3,000 books) 32 GB microSD 1GHz Freescale i.MX507 Wi-Fi 175.7 x 128.3 x 11.7 mm (6.91 x 5.05 x 0.46 in) 240 g (8.5 oz) $169 April 2013
Kobo Aura E-Ink Pearl 6" 1024x768 213 Touch 4 GB (3,000 books) 32 GB microSD 1GHz Wi-Fi 150 x 114 x 8.1 mm (5.9 x 5.6 x 0.3 in) 174 g (6.1 oz) $149 August 2013
Kobo Aura H₂0 E-Ink Carta 6.8" 1440x1080 265 Touch 4 GB (3,000 books) 32 GB microSD 1GHz Wi-Fi Waterproofed 179 x 129 x 9.7 mm 233 g (8.22 oz) $179 October 2014
Kobo Glo HD E-Ink Carta 6" 1448x1072 300 Touch 4 GB (3,000 books) No 1GHz Wi-Fi 114 x 157 x 10 mm (4.5 x 6.2 x 0.4 in) 180 g (6.3 oz) $129 May 2015
Kobo Touch 2.0 E-Ink Pearl 6" 800x600 167 Touch 4 GB (3,000 books) No Wi-Fi $61 September 2015
Kobo Aura Edition 2 E-Ink Carta 6" 1024x768 212 Touch 4 GB (3,000 books) No Wi-Fi 159 x 113 x 8.5 mm 180g September 2016
Kobo Aura One E-Ink Carta 7.8" 1872x1404 300 Touch 8 GB (6,000 books) No Wi-Fi Waterproofed,

night-reading illumination

195.1 x 138.5 x 6.9 mm 230 g $230 September 2016
Kobo Aura H₂O Edition 2 E-Ink Carta 6.8" 1440x1080 265 Touch 8 GB (6,000 books) No Freescale SoloLite iMx6 1Ghz Wi-Fi Waterproofed,

night-reading illumination

129 x 172 x 8.9 mm 210g $180 May 2017


Common attributes

All Kobo e-readers share a unique pagination system giving users the option to count and reference pages separately within each chapter as opposed to the book as a whole, although the latter is user selectable as an alternative. All Kobo readers require connection to the Internet during the initial setup phase and will not work until it has connected to Kobo's servers. Kobo e-readers support viewing Epub, Adobe PDF, plain text, HTML, and unprotected Mobipocket (mobi, prc) e-books. It also supports many other formats unofficially such as ZIM.

Kobo Aura One

The Kobo Aura One was released on 6 September 2016 and it is the first e-reader with a 7.8-inch E Ink Carta HD waterproof touchscreen display with a 300 ppi screen.[3] The Aura One weighs 252 grams and measures 195 by 138.5 by 6. 9 mm. It has Wi-Fi, 8 GB internal storage, and 512 MB RAM. The Aura One is lit by nine white LEDs and eight RGB LEDs around the frame. The additional RGB LEDs allow the device to have a night reading mode that limits the blue light that comes from white LEDs.[4] It was the first Kobo eReader with built-in OverDrive support.[5]

Kobo Aura Edition 2

The Kobo Aura Edition 2 was released with the Kobo Aura One in September 2016 as "a refreshed version of a beloved classic".[6] It has a 6-inch E Ink Carta display with a resolution of 1024×768 at 212 ppi. The exterior styling is similar to the Kobo Aura One. Unlike the original Kobo Aura, there is no MicroSD slot. The specifications are otherwise similar to the original Kobo Aura.

Kobo Aura H₂O Edition 2

The Kobo Aura H₂O Edition 2 was released in May 2017. It has a 6.8-inch E Ink HD Carta waterproof IPX8 display at 265 ppi.[7] Its LED light, called the "ComfortLight PRO", can automatically reduce blue-light exposure during the night to lower the screen's effect on sleep.[8]


Kobo eReader

Kobo Inc. announced its first e-reader on 24 March 2010, at the CTIA show.[9] It was officially released on 1 May 2010.[10] It had expandable memory, holding an additional 4 GB via an SD slot and limited wireless connectivity via Bluetooth to select Blackberry wireless devices. It was available in black or white and came preloaded with 100 public domain books.[1] It was manufactured by Netronix Inc.,[11] a Taiwan based company with factories in Taiwan and China.[12]

The pricing strategy of the original Kobo, at USD$149, was to rival the Amazon Kindle, which was USD$110 more expensive.[1] However, in June 2010, just after the Kobo was released, Amazon dropped the price of the Kindle to USD$189.[13] Its pricing strategy in Australia was similarly aggressive where it was available for A$199, again A$100 less than the Kindle.[14] Borders Australia said that they hoped to sell high volumes of the Kobo to drive up sales at their e-content store.[14]

The original Kobo received a mediocre review from CNET, which said that, while the Kobo was compact, lightweight and affordable, the lack of Wi-Fi or 3G made it outdated, especially when there were similarly priced eReaders available with those features.[13]

In December 2010, the original Kobo's feature set was updated with a firmware update to more closely match the Wifi model.[15]

Kobo Wi-Fi

A new model with Wi-Fi capability was released on 15 October 2010. It included an improved processor, screen, and new colour choices (porcelain/metallic silver, porcelain/pearlized lilac, and onyx). The SD expansion had been improved to claim a capacity for up to 10,000 books with a 32GB SD card.[16] Other improvements included a longer battery life and a built-in dictionary.[17]

As with the original model, the Wi-Fi model came pre-loaded with 100 public domain books.[16]

Kobo Touch

The Kobo Touch was released in June 2011.[18] It introduced an infrared 6-inch touchscreen interface. Other improvements compared to the Kobo Wi-Fi included an E Ink Pearl screen, a faster processor capable of smooth PDF panning, 802.11n capability, and reduced size and weight.[19]

Kobo Glo

The Kobo Glo is an e-reader released on 6 September 2012. It is a front-lit, touch-based E Ink reader.[20] The Kobo Glo supports most ebook standards, including EPUB. It has a 6-inch touchscreen, 1024×758 resolution, 213 ppi, 6.53 oz, 2 GB of storage, and supports microSD.[21]

Kobo Mini

The Kobo Mini is smaller, 5-inch, and lighter than standard ebook readers and was released on 6 September 2012. It has 2GB internal storage and Wi-Fi. The 5" E Ink Vizplex screen has a resolution of 800x600 with 200 ppi.

Kobo Aura

The Kobo Aura is the baseline e-reader with a 6-inch E Ink ClarityScreen display with 1024×768 resolution, 16-level grey scale and a built-in LED front-light. It has 4 GB of storage, weighs 173g (6.1 oz), has 2 months of battery life, a Freescale i.MX507 1 GHz processor, and a microSD expansion slot.[22][23] It was released in September 2013.[2]

Kobo Aura HD

The Aura HD was a limited-edition device, released on 25 April 2013, with a 6.8-inch E Ink display, with a high resolution of 1440×1080 with 265 ppi.[24] It is 8.47 oz and a microSD expansion slot. Other improvements compared to the Kobo Touch include a built-in "ComfortLight" LED light, a faster processor (1 GHz), twice the onboard storage (4 GB) and a claimed twice the battery life (estimated at 2 months).

Kobo Aura H₂O

The Aura H₂O, released on 1 October 2014, is the first commercial waterproof e-reader and has an upgraded version of the Aura HD's 6.8-inch E Ink Carta display with a resolution of 1440×1080 with 265 ppi.[25] While its screen is improved over the Aura HD, it contains the same processor, on-board storage, and software as the Aura HD, and has dust/waterproofing – certified to be immersed for up to 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water with its port cover closed.[26]

Kobo Glo HD

The Kobo Glo HD, released on 1 May 2015, is an e-reader with an E Ink Carta screen and is the successor to 2012's Glo; it has a 6-inch screen in a resolution of 1448×1072, or 300 ppi, matching the resolution of the Kindle Voyage. Internally the device stores its operating system and content on a MicroSD card,[27] and this allows storage upgrade for users who open their device; this will invalidate any warranty[citation needed].

Kobo Touch 2.0

The Kobo Touch 2.0 was released on 8 September 2015, as an entry level e-reader[28] with an E Ink Pearl 6-inch display with a resolution of 800×600 and 167 ppi. The exterior is similar in appearance to the Kobo Glo HD and it has a 1 GHz Freescale i.MX6 Solo Lite Processor and 4 GB of internal storage.

Market share


Global e-book readers shipment in 4Q12[29]
Sellers Percent
Barnes & Noble


The Kobo e-reading platform was the best-selling in Canada as of January 2012, with research firm Ipsos-Reid estimating that Kobo e-readers represented 46% of the Canadian market.[30]

Market share of e-readers in Canada by Ipsos Reid at January 2012[30]
Sellers Percent


As of spring 2012, Kobo had 50% of the market share in France.[31]

Other countries

In August 2013, Kobo was the second largest ebook retailer in Japan, and Forbes estimated it at 3% of the market share in the United States.[32]

Selected subsidiaries

In October 2012, Kobo Inc. acquired the digital publishing platform Aquafadas to increase the content available on its e-reader devices.[33]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Nowak, Peter (24 March 2010), "Indigo targets Amazon with Kobo e-reader", News, CA: CBC .
  2. ^ a b Haselton, Todd (2013-09-28). "Kobo Arc 7, Arc 10HD and Aura Hands-On". TechnoBuffalo. TechnoBuffalo LLC. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  3. ^ ‘Kobo Aura One Leaks, Has a 300 PPI 7.8″ E-ink Screen for 229 Euros’, The Digital Reader, 2016-8-9, retrieved 15 August 2016.
  4. ^ ‘Hands On With Kobo Aura One Night Mode (video)’, The Digital Reader, 2016-8-17, retrieved 18 August 2016.
  5. ^ ‘Get connected to your local public library right from your Kobo Aura ONE with built-in OverDrive‘ Kobo.
  6. ^ ‘Announcing Kobo Aura One: A breakthrough waterproof ereader designed with the help of real book lovers’, Kobo, Rakuten, August 2016.
  7. ^ "Kobo Aura H₂O Edition 2". Kobo eReader Store. Rakuten. 
  8. ^ "Kobo's new Aura H₂O is a smaller, cheaper version of its best e-reader". The verge. 2017-05-02. 
  9. ^ Hamblen, Matt (25 March 2010), "Kobo announces $149 e-reader to be sold by Borders", Computerworld .
  10. ^ "Homegrown Kobo hits the shelves", The Globe and Mail (review), 29 April 2010 .
  11. ^ "Kobo model N416", OET Exhibits List, FCC .
  12. ^ About (company information), Netronix, archived from the original on 5 November 2011 .
  13. ^ a b "Kobo eReader Review" (video review). C net. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Bhatt, Neerav (13 May 2010). "Borders to sell Kobo e-Book reader for A$ 199". AU: iTnews. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Geier, K. "Customers with the original Kobo eReader we are happy to announce that Newspapers and Magazines Now Available!". Blog. Kobo. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Features". Ereader. Kobo. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  17. ^ Pilato, Fabrizio (29 September 2010). "Kobo WiFi edition is cheaper, faster and sharper". Mobile Magazine. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  18. ^ Ridden, Paul (25 May 2011). "Kobo launches new e-Reader Touch edition". Gizmag. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "eReader Touch Specs". Books. Kobo. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "Welcome the New Kobo Family of Devices – An eReader for Everyone!". Toronto: Kobo. 6 September 2012. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  21. ^ "Specs", Kobo Glo, Gdgt .
  22. ^ "Tech specs". Aura. Kobo. 
  23. ^ "Kobo's new tablets compete with Google's Nexuses on price, specs". Ars Technica. Aug 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Kobo crams 1.5 million pixels into its 6.8" Aura HD e-reader". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  25. ^ "Kobo crams 1.5 million pixels into its 6.8" Aura H2O e-reader". Ars Technica. April 2016. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  26. ^ "Kobo Aura H₂O Technical Specs". Kobo. Rakuten. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  27. ^ "How to: Extend Kobo Glo HD memory! - MobileRead Forums". www.mobileread.com. Retrieved 2016-07-05. 
  28. ^ ‘Kobo Touch 2.0 e-Reader Review’, Good ereader, September 8, 2015.
  29. ^ "Digitimes Research: 4.57 million e-book readers to be shipped globally in 2012". DigiTimes. 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2013-07-07. (subscription required)
  30. ^ a b Barbour, Mary Beth (2012-04-19). "Latest Wave of Ipsos Study Reveals Mobile Device Brands Canadian Consumers are Considering in 2012". Ipsos Reid. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  31. ^ Reid, Calvin (2012-04-20). "With More Funding, Kobo Steps Up". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  32. ^ "Taking Another Look At Ebook Upstart Kobo". Forbes. 2013-08-14. Retrieved 2013-08-29. 
  33. ^ "Kobo acquires Aquafadas". Aquafadas Blog. 10 October 2012. 

External links