The Kobo Aura H20. Photo: AFP
The Kobo Aura H20 is the world's first premium water-resistant e-reader. Capable of being submerged in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes it could well be the breakthrough that finally makes e-books as flexible as their real-world alternatives.
One of life's simplest pleasures is being able to crack the spine of a good book while lying on the beach, near the pool, or sitting in the bath. In fact, Kobo's CCO, Michael Tamblyn claims that the motivation behind building the device was existing customer demand.
"We are most interested in those people who put books at the center of their lives -- what they want to see next, what gets them excited. When we asked our customers what held them back from reading more e-books, many told us they love to read in the bath, by the pool, or on the beach, but believed that devices and water didn't mix," said Tamblyn. "As we dug deeper, we found that more than 60% of customers surveyed said they would love to be able read near water without worry."
When the device goes on sale in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands on October 1, as well as water resistance, the Aura H20 will also offer a high resolution illuminated 6.8-inch touch screen. In terms of storage it will come with a 4GB memory, enough for 3,000 books and because it also supports SD cards, there's room to add space for a further 30,000 titles. Kobo claims that the device's battery is also good for up to two months so it could be an ideal holiday as well as bath-time companion.
Water-proofing is becoming one of consumer technology's standout trends for 2014. A feature that Sony started offering on its flagship handsets in 2013, there is now a growing range of smartphones, tablets and wireless speakers that can survive an accidental dip.
And while the $179.99 (€179.99) Kobo Aura H20 is the first high-end water-resistant e-reader to launch, don't expect it to be the last.