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Rakuten’s Kobo line of e-readers has been updated just hours before many expect Amazon to reveal two new Kindle Fire models, a “Paperwhite” Kindle, and maybe even its first smartphone.

Kobo hasn’t had the visibility of big e-reading players Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but it still puts out a decent set of products. But this time, it’s now launching three new e-readers on the same day as Amazon is putting on a show with new Kindles. Perhaps it will help give them a reputation as a scrappy underdog who is willing to keep the big dogs on their toes.

The three e-readers are as follows:

  • Kobo Glo: Read comfortably, day or night. (Only $129.99.) We’ve all been there, completely engrossed in a good book while the daylight hours fade. The Kobo Glo and its ComfortLight technology is for any book lover who wants to keep the pages turning 24/7. And with ultrafast page turns and highly responsive touch interactivity, nighttime reading becomes a dream. Get this 6-inch e-ink e-reader in a selection of colours including, Pink Sunset, Blue Moon, Silver Star, and Black Night.
  • Kbob Mini: With the Kobo Mini, small is a big deal! (Only $79.99.) Meet the Kobo Mini, the world’s smallest and lightest full-featured e-reader. Measuring in at just 5 inches and a light 134 grams, this e-ink e-reader proves that great things come in small packages—loaded with all the great features Kobo customers have come to know and love, including storage to carry up to 1,000 e-books, an unmatched e-ink touch screen giving readers crisp and clear text, and customizable font options.
  • Kobo Arc: This “reads” you like a book. (Starting at $199.99 for 8G and $249.99 for 16G) The Kobo Arc is designed to reflect your personal experiences by discovering preferences, tastes, and passions for a variety of content. With the revolutionary new interface called Tapestries, finding new videos, movies, e-books, webpages and more has never been easier. Just “pin” things you like and the Kobo Arc learns to bring you more of what you love! And with a stunning 7-inch, 16-million color display, the stuff you love never looked so good. The Kobo Arc is a powerful tablet, with a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, that delivers a rich multimedia experience— including a front-facing camera to easily Skype your favorite people to tell them about the latest new read! Powered by Android 4.0, the Kobo Arc also has access to over 600,000 apps through Google Play giving you the ultimate customizable experience.

The new Kobo e-readers may be found at many U.S. retailers, including Target, Staples, Best Buy, and Sears.

“Our focus has remained firmly on delivering a superior experience for book lovers around the world,” CEO Michael Serbinis said in a canned statement. “With 11,000 booksellers and leading retail partners across five continents, we are bringing the new Kobo Family to book lovers everywhere. The new Kobo Family provides more choice for book lovers and a superior ereading and content discovery experience.”

On top of the release, Toronto-based Kobo also offers e-reading apps for the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and other devices.

We will have coverage of Amazon’s Kindle launch event later today as it happens. Stay tuned.

Photo credit: Kobo


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