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back to article Review: Kobo Arc Android tablet

As pocketable Android tablets gather momentum and e-reader manufacturers look to offer a more flexible platform, the twilight zone where both meet is certainly looking lively. A criticism of Amazon’s Kindle Fire e-book-meets-Android offerings is the company’s imposition of a walled garden for installing apps: you have to …

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Charging it?

How does it charge?

I ask because Kobo's comparison (against the Kindle and the Nexus 7) says it has an AC charger (and that the Nexus doesn't).

Well, my Nexus 7 came with a 2A USB charger and an A-to-micro-B cable, and happily charges off any USB port that'll provide 500mA or more. SWMBO's cheapo tablet came with a proprietary charger, and won't charge via its USB socket.

So, does the Arc charge over USB?

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Re: Charging it?

Maybe... "Always use the included wall charger to charge your Kobo Arc; it may not charge at all or charge very slowly if you use a computer and USB cable (not included)."

http://kobo.intelliresponse.com/answer/?interfaceID=16&requestType=NormalRequest&source=4&id=4416&sessionId=98bfb0c1-3f7c-11e2-a436-a5aac3bf00f1&question=How+do+I+charge+my+Kobo+Arc

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Headmaster

Re: Charging it?

Interestingly, some PC motherboards now have device charging over USB. But I think it's device specific and down to the drivers (only seen it for Ipod/phone connectivity). Could be a handy feature to look out for.

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Anonymous Coward

Kobo has already been where the smart shoppers have ended up.

It's always been too lazy to just buy a Kindle, but scratch below the surface, and Kobo has always been offering so much more.

Better devices, better choice (all Kobos are EPUB based, and you can use a Kobo bought book on any device, or any EPUB based device with kobo books), so there is no lock-in, however the social reading and statistics actually make you want to stay with Kobo.

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WTF?

...the social reading and statistics actually make you want to stay with Kobo.

Surely you jest, sir?

Of all the things I want a reader to be, a device that tells the world what I'm reading and me what the world thinks of it is the last... reading is, was, and always should be a private activity, something to do on your own when you want to shut the world out. 'Social reading' is a contradiction in terms in my world.

Epub based is the reason I use Kobo - though I won't buy any book with DRM or which I cannot store and view on a local device *without* the necessity of wireless connection.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...the social reading and statistics actually make you want to stay with Kobo.

It's of course entirely optional. I don't share anything, I occasionally review, regularly rely on book reviews, and the statistics are REALLY good, but totally private.

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Meh

Re: Kobo has already been where the smart shoppers have ended up.

Their desktop software, the synchronisation options (everyone seems to use Calibre - it's not really a friendly piece of software though), and the whole 'experience' of working with ePubs is poor on their e-readers though.

It's a shame, because if they made synchronisation and management of plain ePubs possible, and did something to allow local wifi-synchronisation rather than just books bought from Kobo, I think they could do really well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Kobo has already been where the smart shoppers have ended up.

No problems here. You buy the book and it magically appears on the device, it even syncs your book's progress across devices.

Why would anyone need a PC or Calibre? Only pirates of course. So what you are saying is:

"I appreciate that Kobo let me import my pirated EPUBS, but I wish they made it even easier".....

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FAIL

Re: Kobo has already been where the smart shoppers have ended up.

>"Why would anyone need a PC or Calibre? Only pirates of course. So what you are saying is: "I appreciate that Kobo let me import my pirated EPUBS, but I wish they made it even easier".....

Obviously you have never been a NOOK owner. You should think before you speak.

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FAIL

Re: Kobo has already been where the smart shoppers have ended up.

@AC - 16:34

What makes you think my epubs are pirated? Have you heard of Gutenberg? Does the concept of scanning material you already own, OCRing it, and converting it to epub surprise you - and in what significant way is it different from ripping a CD (apart from the obvious 'it takes a lot of time and effort')? Are you aware that the Kobo desktop application - required to purchase ebooks - is not available for Linux?

I don't care about reading on multiple devices. I do care about DRM: I object to any technology which assumes I am a thief and will do my damnedest to avoid it. I object to any technology which prohibits my usage of that which I have purchased as I please and so I do not purchase DRM encumbered material. But I have several hundred epubs, and for each in copyright (and many older) I have a paper original, in the same way that for each of my .ogg or .mp3 files I have the original CD.

But I am neither thief nor pirate, and resent the implication. You bought a bookselling mechanism. I bought a book *reading* mechanism.

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Pint

Re: Kobo has already been where the smart shoppers have ended up.

"You bought a bookselling mechanism. I bought a book *reading* mechanism."

Well said man! Cheers to that!

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Re: Kobo has already been where the smart shoppers have ended up.

The usual copyright troll showed up, I see.

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Headmaster

Pricing clarification

"By flogging the entry-level 16GB model for £160 – the same price as a Nexus 7 – and its 32GB model for a tenner less, it’s relying on..."

I'm assuming that sentence is intended to mean that the 32GB is a tenner less than the Nexus 32GB, and not 10 quid less that the 16GB Kobo; which is how it reads.

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Re: Pricing clarification

Next time try the Send Corrections link under the article. I just mailed Chris via that link, and he fixed it within 10mins.

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Anonymous Coward

Noob questions

I didn't see any mention of SD slot - is there one?

USB host?

Also, as my media is on a media center (SMB access) would it be able to show this contents (music/video/photos).

Sorry for the noob questions but I currently use netbooks and a Kindle for e-books, and don't have any of these tablets yet.

Answers appreciated.

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Meh

Re: Noob questions

For any technical information, stop reading the article and use Google :(

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Flame

Tapestries? Discoveries?

I am driven *mad* by tags...

Strikes me there's no need for anything more complex than an alphabetical series of books, one page (shelf, in the older 'glo') to an author... I want to see who I have on the device, and then I want to see the titles. I don't want to see 'adventure', 'crime', 'foreign authors', 'cheese development board', or 'science fiction' - particularly as there is so often a disagreement between different taggers as to which category a book should be in, which renders the whole concept somewhat tenuous, if not pointless.

Hierarchical reference is a concept probably older than libraries; it's worked well for centuries. But the last five or ten years have buggered the concept completely. I can't listen to a whole album in the order the artist intended; I can't see at a glance whether I have anything by a particular author. The whole world has gone mad in a pokey slidey pokey slidey interface that simply falls over if there are more than a couple of dozen items.

I have yet to see an ebook which can handle - without jumping through hoops - any significant number of books (i.e. four hundred to a thousand). I have certainly never seen the obvious 'autotag' button: tag by author.

Meh.

</rant>

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Facepalm

Re: Tapestries? Discoveries?

Pretty sure that's there due to his significant other's reading of the "Fifty Shades..." opus.

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Facepalm

"Reading" material, huh?

Next time El Reg gets someone to review a tablet or e-reader, it might be a good idea if they were advised to take their porno off the page before taking the photos or screenshots.

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Re: "Reading" material, huh?

Good spot!

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Holmes

Re: "Reading" material, huh?

I'm fairly sure that they do that deliberately in the screenshots just to amuse us sharp-eyed readers...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Reading" material, huh?

... or let us know what it is so we can look it up for "research" purposes.

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Unless I'm missing something:

No microSD slot? or mention of OTG capability, bluetooth version and profiles, HDMI, USB charging, camera(s), GPS, 3G.

Sounds more like an ereader rather than a tablet.

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Re: Unless I'm missing something:

From other sites:

http://www.kobo.com/koboarc/techspecs/

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/gadgets/portable-video/portable-media-players-recorders/kobo-arc-1094905/review

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?s=b561e139e3a7f0318eefd3335d1eb62e&t=1912330&page=2

http://kobo.intelliresponse.com/answer/?interfaceID=16&requestType=NormalRequest&source=4&id=4416&sessionId=98bfb0c1-3f7c-11e2-a436-a5aac3bf00f1&question=How+do+I+charge+my+Kobo+Arc

No MicroSD, OTG, Bluetooth, HDMI, GPS or 3G

One front facing camera (720p)

USB charging seems to be "unsupported" it might work but to quote their support page "Always use the included wall charger to charge your Kobo Arc; it may not charge at all or charge very slowly if you use a computer and USB cable (not included)."

Basically very limited unless you want is purely as a reader. (Which, to be fair, is how they are marketing it).

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Re: Unless I'm missing something:

No expansion means no sale to me. I want my books and notations on removable media.

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10 hours?

I only get about that from my Kobo e-ink touch reader.

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Meh

Re: 10 hours?

Then I think there might be something wrong with it.

Under light use mine usually goes 3 weeks between charges.

Can't be sure about continuous use, most I've ever done was 4 hours sat in A&E.

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IT Angle

Amazon’s walled garden?

"A criticism of Amazon’s Kindle Fire e-book-meets-Android offerings is the company’s imposition of a walled garden for installing apps"

I'm puzzled, what's Microsoft currently sueing Google for with the EU regulators.

"Android makers, and carriers, were told, that you cannot use another default besides Google", Microsoft

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Re: Amazon’s walled garden?

Yes, but nobody ever accused Microsoft of not being disingenuous.

[Triple negative checked and *I think* used correctly]

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Re: Amazon’s walled garden?

I think Amazon has forked Android and is using its own version. And they probably could use their own app store exclusively anyway. Google's authority with partners may be limited to withholding the Android trademark and/or barring access to Google Play for rogue devices. That has been an issue with tablets before there was a proper Android tablet edition; you could use Android itself, but not the Android Marketplace or whatever it was called then. The support forum for one tablet that I looked at was mostly about them "breaking in" to make the Marketplace work and let them get apps, and Google then blcking them again.

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£200 I will never see again

I bought mine thinking I could have an alternative to Amazon. Sadly it never did download Kobo books. Though the Google Books app worked fine. Their help desk is helpful like a chocolate fire guard is helpful. Oh well, back to my trusty Kindle.

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Anonymous Coward

"ultimate 7in Android tablet"

not. It's just a VERY average 7in repackaged as an e-book reader. But hey, we can call it anything, cause we can.

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Watching films on Kobo

Apparently one can watch films or videos on Kobo just as with any other Android device, but I am puzzled as to why they (KobO) think people will watch them with the tablet in the portrait position. Normally one would use lanndscape for this and naturally require the speakers to be in the left and right postions, yet in the picturae they are to be seen close together at one end of the display....what a stupid mistake!

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