Rakuten expands E-reader offerings with new $100 Nia

While you may think of Rakuten as an online marketplace filled with great deals, like we do, they’ve also made steady in-roads to other areas of consumer technology in recent years. One such area of interest has been its Kobo line of E-readers. Today, Rakuten is expanding its already affordable lineup with the new Kobo Nia, a refreshed version of its on-the-go E-reader, which hopes to take on Amazon’s Kindle products. A $100 price tag is sure to raise some eyebrows, but the expansive offerings of titles make it a worthwhile alternative, particularly if you’re interested in leaving Amazon’s ecosystem. Hit the jump for full details on today’s announcement along with release info and more.

Rakuten expands its E-reader offerings

The addition of the Kobo Nia brings Rakuten’s stable of E-readers to four, offering various price points for all budgets. Nia will settle in at $100, which notably makes it $10 more than Amazon’s entry-level Kindle, but $30 less than the higher-end Paperwhite. However, a number of differences in specs help set the table on the benefits of each model.

Notable specs include a 6-inch display with a 1024 x 758 resolution, which of course, offers E-ink styling and something Rakuten calls Kobo ComfortLight front lighting. While it is $10 more than the baseline Kindle offering, it comes in with a denser resolution display at 212 ppi as compared to 167 ppi.

Nia comes in at 172-grams with 8GB worth of onboard storage, which can be filled officially and side-loaded with various titles. The internal 1000mAh battery promises to run for “weeks on end”, according to Rakuten.

Here’s a look at additional specifications:

  • Display: 6-inch 212 PPI Carta E Ink display, 1024 × 758 resolution
  • Customization: TypeGenius – 12 different fonts and over 50 font styles
  • Supported formats: EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR
  • Languages: English, French, French (Canada), German, Spanish, Spanish (Mexico), Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Turkish, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese

Rakuten now offers four different E-readers, including the $120 Clara HD, which offers a 300 ppi display that is meant to compare with Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite. There are also water-resistant models with additional features at $170 and $250.

Rakuten is making the new entry-level Nia model available today at $100. Various accessories are also on sale today at launch.

9to5Toys’ Take:

There’s no denying that Amazon’s Kindle lineup reigns supreme in this category. But for those looking to escape to a more open-source platform, Rakuten certainly has plenty to offer. It would be nice, however, if they met Amazon’s $90 price tag on the entry-level model.

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