You may remember the name “Kobo” as the Borders equivalent of Barnes & Noble’s Nook. But it wasn’t actually a Borders-owned entity. Kobo has always been its own independent company, and it is trying to find a voice now that its strongest retail partner is gone. So it has entered the world of e-readers that are trying to function more like Android tablets than dedicated digital book machines.
The Kobo Vox is Kobo’s flagship full-color touchscreen device, and it has just added the ability to connect to the Google Play store. However, it’s likely this will only further add to the device’s identity crisis. Kobo is following the Kindle Fire’s strategy in offering a “curated” app store, meaning instead of the 500,000+ Android apps that are available on full featured Android tablets, the Vox only gives users access to around 15,000.
This is partially because Kobo wants to ensure its users only have access to apps that are optimized for the Vox, and also because the Vox is missing some key features that would make a lot of Android apps just completely irrelevant. For example, it doesn’t have a built-in camera. Basically, the addition of Google Play is just a way for the Vox to get back in the news, but not much more than that.