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Kobo Offers $99 Ebook Reader With Ads

Ebook maker Kobo, which has just been acquired by Japanese giant, Ratuken, has announced that it will sell a new version of its tablet, the Kobo Touch, which will come with advertising, just like Amazon's own ad-subsidised Kindle reader.

Kobo says that the adverts will be in the form of "sponsored screens and valuable offers" and will show up in "discreet places that are always outside of the reading experience, like on the bottom of your home screen".

The device, which is available in a number of colours, offers a six inch e-ink display, 1GB onboard storage and access to the 2.2 million books and titles in the Kobo ebook store.

The two other major ebook players, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, are going upmarket with colour tablets based on Android which they hope will spur the growth of paid-for content.

The new Kobo tablet costs $99 while the Kindle Fire comes in at $199 and the Barnes and Noble Nook tablet costs $249.

Ratuken is likely to reshuffle its ebook strategy in order to use it, like its rivals, as a platform to consume media rather than a stand alone product that stands almost no chance against an armada of cheap Android tablets.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.