WHSmith seems to have grown rather out-of-date as of late. As a brand around here, except for the Smiths at Lincoln and Notts train stations, its starting to become rather overlooked. So to bring itself back into Christmas contention, they've released the Kobo Vox: a 7-inch Android powered tablet (hello Kindle Fire).
However, except for the startlingly similar minimalistically dull design ethic of the aforementioned American counterpart, the 8GB onboard storage and the 512 mb ram, this is where the similarities end. To it's benefit, the build of Gingerbread this runs doesn't ban you from Android market and the Micro SD expansion slot is a welcome addition. However, with an 800 mhz single core processor, this won't match up to the likes of the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire.
Kobo are also talking up a storm about the Vox being the "only official eReading partner to Facebook." Via Kobo Pulse, expanded sharing ability means you can communicate to the world what you're reading in real time: a function that no-one will probably use after the first times for gimmicks.
But besides all this (and the inevitable paraphrasing of being a 'craplet'), this will primarily be what the UK public maybe looking for: a Kindle Fire and Nook tablet on British shores. Even down to the price point sentiment of £170, don't expect anything other than the bare minimum from this. However, with the product offering we can't escape the thought that this is surely a case of 'not enough processing power to be a proper tablet, not enough battery power to be a proper e-reader.'
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.