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Kobo unveils Aura HD, 'Porsche of e-readers'

E-ink device will feature a 6.8-inch screen that offers the "highest-resolution display available in an e-reader today."

The new home screen (click image to enlarge).

The dedicated e-reader market, hurt by the rise of the tablet and large-screen smartphones, is widely regarded as being on the downswing. But that hasn't stopped Kobo from announcing the limited-edition $169.99 Kobo Aura HD, a "premium" e-reader with a 6.8-inch screen that the company says is the highest-resolution display available in an e-reader today.

The specs list the resolution for the Pearl E Ink display at 1,440x1,080 pixels, 265dpi, and Kobo says the larger 6.8-inch screen size offers "30 percent more reading surface and the closest experience to print-on-paper -- showcasing text and high-resolution images beautifully."

Kobo also claims that with its 1GHz processor is the fastest e-reader by 25 percent. It will come in three colors -- Ivory, Espresso, and Onyx -- and has 4GB of storage, plus an expansion slot that accepts up to 32GB microSD cards. Battery life is rated at up to two months.

Click image to enlarge. Kobo

The company says that it's developed a new user experience for the device that harnesses "its power, speed, and style for easy discovery of new content." Also, the 10 included font types have been optimized for the screen's resolution and the home screen "also reflects a new, modern library display," whatever that means.

The somewhat vague press release includes a quote from Wayne White, EVP and general manager of devices at Kobo, who says, "To us, the Kobo Aura HD is the Porsche of e-readers and is designed for those in the driver's seat of their e-reading adventures."

While the PR team forgot to mention that it has an integrated light like the Kobo Glo, the specs list a ComfortLight as a feature. Presumably it has a touch screen. It also has Wi-Fi connectivity.

Kobo says the Aura HD will be in stores in Canada and the United Kingdom starting April 25, and international availability will begin in May. It's unclear where or if it will be sold in the United States -- except online. It is available for preorder now.

The $169.99 Aura HD will come in three colors: Ivory, Espresso, and Onyx. Kobo