Borders’ new Kobo eReader became available for pre-order today in a move to undercut Amazon’s Kindle as the dominant eReading device.
The two devices have a number of differences, most notably price: The Amazon Kindle costs $259 while the Kobo comes in at just $150. The Kobo is also cheaper than the Android-based Barnes & Noble Nook, which is priced similarly to the Kindle.
That $100 discrepancy may make the Kobo more alluring to consumers but the device lacks the 3G and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity that are a key part of the Kindle’s value proposition.
Instead, the Kobo comes equipped with a USB cord and Bluetooth. The eReader is platform-agnostic, allowing its content to be synced to devices based on several different platforms including Macs and PCs, as well as iPhone, BlackBerry, WebOS and Android smartphones.
The Kobo also lacks a qwerty keyboard, which allows Kindle users to make annotations, highlights and clip passages.
The device launches on June 17 and will come preloaded with 100 “classic” books. The upcoming Borders eBook store will feature more than 1 million titles.
“We are giving consumers the flexibility to read the content they want on a variety of devices of their choosing,” said Borders interim president and CEO Mike Edwards in a statement. “The Borders eBook store will be positioned as a device-agnostic, content-focused destination with expertise from decades of deep book knowledge and experience.”