Kobo Touch Versus Nook Touch

The big news in eBooks this week is the touch screen eReader. Both Barnes & Noble and Kobo have introduced versions. They are basically eInk pearl eReaders, with touch screens (no keyboard buttons). While Barnes & Noble is a much bigger player in the market, Kobo has kept alive since the company launched its first eReader last year.

The two devices look a lot alike and will prove to be direct competitors, especially before Amazon gets in the ring. Both devices employ Neonode technology to enable the touch screen. Both have eInk screens and are going for the reader looking for. Both let you check out library books and come loaded with lots of free eBooks. Both have six inch screens and both are Wi-Fi enabled.

The Kobo is slightly cheaper at $130, but so far in the U.S. it is only available through Borders.com, a company that may or may not be in business for long. The Nook costs $139 and is available through Barnes & Noble and they have a special dedicated customer service option.

The Nook probably has a longer battery life at two months (measured at half an hour a day, in other words 30 hours), compared to Kobo’s ten days, but Kobo didn’t clarify exactly how many hours a day they were counting.

The Nook Touch also runs the Android 2.1, which means that hackers will probably come up with some fun ways to import apps or video games that were not intended for the device. I’m not sure if the same holds true for the Kobo.

Which one do you prefer?

UPDATE: Some good points in the comments, I left out that the Kobo is available at Indigo, Best Buy Canada and Walmart Canada, so it is much more international than the Nook, which for now is only available in the U.S. (though the hinted at international interest at the press conference).