Kobo Announces Kobo Aura H2O: World’s First Premium Waterproof eReader

Kobo's Latest e-reader Can be Immersed in One Metre of Water for up to 30 Minutes
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Ben VanderWerp demonstrates the features of a Nook e-reader
Ben VanderWerp demonstrates the features of a Nook e-reader for a customer at a Barnes and Noble store in Boston, March 18, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder Reuters

A new waterproof version of the Aura HD e-book reader has been announced by its maker Kobo. Titled as the "world's first premium waterproof e-reader" the Kobo Aura H2O, will allow readers to read their favourite books in the bath or any place where the fear of exposing the reader to water was felt in the past.

Though similar to its predecessor the Aura HD, it has differences. Aura H2O is slimmer and lighter. It has an upgraded high definition display with a 1430x1080 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 265ppi and features a 6.8-inch Carta E-Ink HD multi-touchscreen display. The major feature is that it is IP67 certified; this means that it can stay in water for 30 minutes and would be water proof in 1 meter of water, provided its ports are closed. It is also dust and sand proof, incase you would want to use it on a beach, you need not think twice.

The battery life is an added attraction, if used for 30 minutes a day with ComfortLight turned on or off, and Wi-Fi turned off it has been rated to last for up to two months. On the tech specs front, it has a 4 GB internal storage that is expandable to 32 GB and a 1GHz processor that Kobo says makes page-turning swifter.

Michael Tamblyn, president and chief content officer at Kobo said that many readers wanted to read e-books in the bath and by the pool, even near the beach but the limitations of the device stopped them from reading more books. On surveying the users they found that more than 60 per cent "would love to be able read near water without worry," said Michael. This led to designing Kobo Aura H20 which would allow users to read e-books anywhere be it in the bathtub or by the beach, making it as common as using the reader on the bus or in bed.

The new device also has extra features, an improvement from the earlier Aura HD; it has 10 fonts and 24 font sizes which gives users more choices. One can also take notes and highlight text, share quotes and certain paragraphs and books on Facebook. They can also keep check of their reading habits. According to their preferences there would be several recommended books as well, giving them more choice and easy access. Digital book shelves can also easily be organized.

Kobo Aura H2O will be available from October 1 and costs £139.99 in the UK and $179.99 in the U.S. It can also be pre ordered from September 1 on the Kobo website in Canada, the UK and the US. As of now the device is available only in black.

The Kobo Aura H2O is expected to give Amazon's Kindle a tough competition as they do not have a waterproof reader yet. Tamblyn said that amidst waterproof smartphones and accessories in the market, the waterproof e-reader has taken a while to hit the market. "The e-reader industry is still catching up," he said

"It does come down to some of the advances in technology that have come out of the smartphone industry and that we've been able to take advantage of. So the whole ability to make a multi-touch device but still have all of that waterproofing around it is still relatively new," he said.

This is the first time such advancement in the e-reader industry has been made. It is sure going to fascinate the readers, as this is what they had been waiting for, to have a wholesome reading experience without any hindrance.

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