Kobo, which has just been acquired by Japanese retail giant Rakuten, has launched the Vox, available at WHSmith from today for a mere £170. The device is essentially a 7-inch tablet not unlike the RIM Blackberry Playbook, the Amazon Kindle Fire or the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet.
In fact, we're pretty sure that they use the same template but alter the underlying hardware. Apart from the 7-inch 1024x600 pixel display, this one features an 800MHz chipset (possibly an underclocked TI OMAP4), 512MB RAM and 8GB onboard storage which can be augmented to 40GB via an optional microSD card.
Kobo says that the Vox will have access to one million free ebooks and an additional one million paid-for ones (and stock up to 40,000 at any time).
What makes it even more enticing is the fact that despite being customised for Kobo and its ereader ecosystem, it is fundamentally an Android tablet. There's even full access to Android Market and a slew of apps that normally come with any Android device.
How does that compare to the rest of the competition. Well, it is just as good as the first generation iPad and costs less than half the iPad 2.
The Kindle Fire has yet to be announced andt the Kobo Vox could well grab some significant marketshare by the time Amazon's tablet comes to market.