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Kobo eReader Touch Edition could push e-reader prices low, low, low

Kobo's new eReader Touch Edition – the smallest, lightest, and cheapest touchscreen e-reader yet – is getting rave reviews.

By Husna Haq / June 15, 2011

Reviewers are praising the Kobo eReader Touch Edition for its clean, simple design – intended to fit into the pocket of your jeans.

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At last, budget-conscious bookies have an e-reader.

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Kobo’s e-Reader Touch Edition hit shelves June 10 and at $129.99, it’s the cheapest touchscreen e-reader (besting Barnes & Noble’s Nook by $10), and the smallest and lightest to boot.

Early reviews suggest the Canadian e-book retailer is vying for the No. 3 spot in e-readers, behind Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.

The paperback-sized eReader Touch (Kobo says it’s designed to fit in a jeans pocket) has a clean, simple design – mostly screen with only one physical button. It uses e-ink, like a Kindle; can be read in bright light; and best of all, works like a touchscreen so readers can turn a page with the swipe of a finger.

The eReader Touch has 32 GB of storage, a micro-USB port for charging, and a battery life of up to one month, according to Kobo. It offers wireless access, but no 3G.

And at just 7.05 ounces (0.44 pounds), Kobo’s new e-reader is 0.33 ounces lighter than the second-generation Nook and 1.45 ounces lighter than the third-generation Kindle, “a noticeable difference,” writes PC World.

For now, Kobo’s eReader Touch is available at Borders, Best Buy, and Walmart.

So far, reviewers have (mostly) raved.

“The Kobo e-Reader Touch Edition is an excellent and easy to use device,” writes Publishers Weekly. It lauded the e-reader's “clean, simple design,” e-ink screen, and extended battery life, but said Kobo’s page loading speed and clarity of graphics leave room for improvement.

“While Kobo claims the device is more powerful than its older version, it can still feel a bit underpowered and at times there’s a bit of lag bringing up titles – especially graphic heavy works like comics – and while navigating online at the Kobo e-book store.... [W]hile the device’s ability to display photos and graphic work like comics, isn’t bad, it’s still an e-ink device and graphics could be better.”

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