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Kobo Vox joins Android-powered tablet e-reader wars

by Kristen Nicole

It’s been a wild ride these past few weeks with surprising early launches for both the Amazon Kindle Fire and the B&N NOOK Tablet, making the market that much more competitive for Kobo’s social e-reader tablet, the Vox. The holiday season is also prime time for price-slashing deals, and AT&T’s ahead of the curve with a special deal for a Samsung tablet and smartphone bundle. LG iss also hoping to broaden its Android devices, revealing plans to launch a Google TV at CES next year. It’s certainly a wide world for Android, as the platform supports a blooming array of gadgets.

Kobo Vox

The Kobo Vox is entering a crowded market with its social tablet, hoping that its sleek design and networking capabilities will help it stand out from its rivals. The Vox was first leaked a few months ago, driving curiosity around the device’s looks and functionality. It’s turned out to be a 7-inch tablet with a 1024x600 pixel display and 512MB of RAM. The Vox also features an 800MHz processor, putting it behind the Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet, which both run 1GHz dual-core chips. With Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the Vox comes pre-loaded with software for playing music, videos and reading e-books. There’s also featured apps for Facebook and Twitter, as well as news readers for traditional publication lovers.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 & Galaxy S II Skyrocket

Samsung and AT&T have teamed up for a bundle offer. They’re selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and offering a Galaxy S II Skyrocket for free with the deal (you can actually choose between the Skyrocket and the regular Galaxy S II). Starting Nov. 20 the Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G will cost $479.99 with a new two-year contract from AT&T, and the bonus is obviously the free smartphone, which also comes with support for AT&T’s LTE 4G network. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 is thin at 8.6mm, weighing less than the iPad at 0.985 pounds. Running Android 3.1 Honeycomb and Samsung’s new tablet version of TouchWiz, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 also comes with some enterprise-friendly features like software from Cisco, Sybase, SAP and Citrix. The tablet is powered by a dual-core T250S processor, with a WXGA TFT display at 1280x800 pixels, all protected by Gorilla Glass. There’s a 3-megapixel primary camera and a 2-megapixel front camera, and a slew of other features for connecting to other Samsung gadgets (like your TV).

The Skyrocket is a younger, larger version of the original Galaxy S II, boasting 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 1080p video capture and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. There’s a WVGA Super AMOLED Plus display with a 4.5-inch screen. With its dual-core processor, the Skyrocket is indeed built for speed. The best part about this deal is that you’re getting two fairly new Samsung devices in a package deal, making it worth a second look.

LG Google TV

Logitech didn’t see early success with the first iteration of Google TV, but with the launch of version 2.0 of the service, Google is working on getting it right. It’s next partner is reportedly LG, with plans to reveal a Google-enhanced TV set at January’s CES show, just a few weeks away. Few details have been revealed on the deal, and no specs have been confirmed at all. It’s expected to be one of the first to use Google TV 2.0, which better incorporates third party apps and a completely revamped interface.