Toronto-based Kobo has announced its latest Android-based e-reader and is matching Amazon's Kindle Fire with a $200 price tag to boot. Touted as the "world's first social e-reader," the Kobo Vox features a 7-inch 1024 x 600 display with and anti-glare coating, an 800MHz Freescale iMX51 processor, 8GB of internal storage, 512MB of RAM, and runs a customized version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
The device is integrated with Kobo's Reading Life, which collects and displays your personal reading statistics in a series of graphs and charts. It allows users to connect their reading to Facebook, unlock awards, and create book clubs. It also integrates the company's Kobo Pulse feature that lets users see who else is reading the page you're on and what they what they have to say about it – whether that improves or impairs the reading experience is another thing.
Like the Kindle Fire and Nook Color, the Vox is Wi-Fi only. Rdio's music streaming app comes pre-installed out of the box with a 7-day free trial of their premium service, while the Vox offers access to 'an open app store' (no mention if this is the official Android Market) as well as Kobo's global e-book store featuring over 2.5 million books.
The device will start shipping on October 28 in the U.S. and Canada, a couple of weeks ahead of the Kindle Fire. Although it won't offer the same ecosystem of services as the latter – which offers free cloud storage and a fast web browser that takes advantage of Amazon's EC2 servers on top of a tight integration with the company's Android, Kindle and retail stores – it might steal some of the Kindle Fire's spotlight given its similar pricing and earlier release date.