Tag Archives: Kobo Vox

Kobo Arc Review

Yesterday, I actually got my hands on an Arc.  So here is the skinny: it looks pretty cool.

It is about the same size and weight as the Kobo Vox (about the weight of a trade paperback), and has a 7″ screen.  The screen is HD-really crisp HD, actually.  I noticed while using it a little lessening of responsiveness at the top of the screen, but that might have been because of all the people who just ate ice cream sandwiches (because it runs Android ice cream sandwich, get it? Food marketing tie-ins are my favorite) and then put their grubby fingers all over it.  It now has a front camera, so it’s suitable for Skype, but any photo taking will either have to be blind, or always starring you.

Kobo took inspiration from the popularity of Pinterest, and created an interface it calls “Tapestries”.  Basically, you create bulletin boards, and pin anything you want to them.  This includes videos, photos, books, music, Twitter… and it will make suggestions about additional content you might find interesting.  I noticed that (gasp) it was suggesting content that wasn’t being offered by Kobo, on occasion.  It was suggesting also… free stuff.  You can organize by media type, or theme, or whatever crazy scheme you come up with.  This being basically a geek party, I noticed one of the newly created bulletin boards was titled “Deathstar Plans”.

The books downloaded, loaded, and turned pages very quickly – they have snuck in a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor, and it seems to be doing the trick.  They’ve taken out the option of using external MicroSD cards (which sucks), and have instead created the Vox at 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, ranging from $200-$300.   Apparently it no longer has an internal MicroSD card, so all you guys who were looking forward to an easy hack will have harder slogging.

One of my coworkers downloaded “Temple Run” from the Google Play store as, she claimed, a test.  It downloaded fairly quickly, given the size of the file, and the game play was smooth and lag-free.

One thing I heard about, but didn’t get a chance to look at, is a feature built into the browser that apparently strips ads off web articles, so that only the content is left.  Genius, if you’re using a 7″ screen to browse the internet.  So much less zooming and dragging.

We’ll see how buggy it is when it starts actually shipping, but so far, so good.  I wasn’t actually all that interested in the Vox, but the Arc, I can actually see buying.  I was a little doubtful of Kobo positioning it as competition for tablets, but it looks like they may have been right.

Hopefully, the cases will actually arrive at the same time as the Arc – the custom Kobo Glo and Mini cases still haven’t arrived, and the pre-order on them is actually sold out.  Approximate Arc arrival date is mid-November.

All in all, looks solid.


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Manually Resetting the Vox

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do except a factory reset.  Especially when you’re having problems with Android.  Sometimes removing an offending app will do the trick, if possible, but if the whole thing is freezing, you have two options: a forced reboot (using the reset button), or doing a manual wipe and factory reset.

If the old “turn it off and then on again” fix isn’t working (which works in a surprising number of cases), here’s what to do.

If it’s frozen, and won’t restart, try manually rebooting it.  Pop the back off the Vox (insert something thin under the quilted plastic, pry around the edges, and remove), and locate the reset button.  Use a paper clip or something similar to press the tiny button in the top right corner, next to the battery.

If that doesn’t solve your issue, here’s how to do a full re-set:

On the left side of the Vox is a button marked +/- , for the volume control.  With the Vox powered off, hold the “+” sign down.  Keep holding it while pressing the “Power” button to turn the device on.  DO NOT LET GO OF THE “+” SIGN UNTIL YOU SEE THE MESSAGE SAYING THAT IT IS RESTORING THE DEVICE TO THE FACTORY SETTINGS.

This will take a few minutes, and then it will restart itself.  At this point, you’ll have to set up your Vox again from scratch, but it should be working.  It needs to do an update in order to set itself up properly, so MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS SOMEWHERE WITH WI-FI.  Public wi-fi will not always work properly for the setup, so if you have issues, that may be the reason.  The setup can take a while, so don’t start this if you don’t have the time to finish it.  Give yourself at least an hour for downloading new updates, just in case.



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Kobo Vox + Google Play Update

I have some more information now as I’ve seen more people with the update – or without it.

Vox users who haven’t had the update installed may find that apps have stopped working.  You can manually trigger the update by (making sure you’re connected to WiFi first) going to the menu for your home screen and selecting “settings”, and then scrolling to the bottom of that page and choosing “about Kobo”.  The first option should be to check for updates.  This is a big download, and can take a while, so make sure your Vox is fully charged, and you don’t have anywhere you need to go before you start it.

You may need to re-download the apps from Google Play, because it is very sensitive to which version of the app you have.  If you try to launch it and it doesn’t work, look for the “Play” icon on your “all apps” screen.  From there you should be able to do a search for it.  So far, ironically, I’ve found that the search function on Google Play is terrible.  You can put in the exact name of the app, and get pages and pages of add-ons for it, but not the app itself.  If this happens, use your browser to go to the site for the app and download it, which if it’s Google approved, should trigger the download through the Google Play marketplace.  If it’s not Google approved, it will give you a stern talking to about how you can’t download apps that might not be safe.

You may also initially have some error messages with widgets, but that should stop after a reboot.

<sarcasm/>Definitely a huge improvement</sarcasm>


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Kobo Vox Launches Google Play. Yay?

Kobo Vox users have had their wish granted, with Kobo’s licensing of the Android Marketplace, now branded “Google Play”.  This may be a case of be careful what you wish for, however.

Previously, GetJar was the app store on Vox.  Although it wasn’t as slick as Google Play, there were some benefits to it.  If you couldn’t find it easily on GetJar, you could always go to the web site for the app, and download it directly.  No more.  Now, if you don’t get it through Google, you don’t get it at all.

Yesterday I was trying to help a customer download the Dolphin HD browser onto his Vox, which I consider to be a superior browser to the one that comes pre-installed.  I have done this for many a customer.  I found about a million add-ons for Dolphin, but discovered that I can no longer download it, since the only version of Dolphin they had wasn’t compatible with the version of Android installed on the Vox.  Okey dokey, go to Dolphin web site, download directly.  Nope, because Google Play won’t let you download apps from anywhere but through them.  Arg!  I ended up installing Opera, since it is still better than the original browser.  All I wanted was a browser home page button, guys.  Tabbed browsing.  Is that so much to ask?

I’m sure there’s a way around this, but is there a way around it that won’t void your warranty?  Stay tuned.  Also, I’m curious to know if anyone out there has had issues with existing apps post-Google Play.

Also, FYI, do not subscribe to newspapers or magazines through the Kobo store if you have a Vox.  You have to get them through Press Reader, Zinio, or just download the proprietary app (e.g. NY Times or Wall Street Journal) from Google Play directly.


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Kobo Vox: Having Power Problems?


The most common issue I see in the Kobo Vox is people having power issues.  The device isn’t charging, the wi-fi goes on and off, etc.  This is, in my experience, almost always because of the battery connection.  The reason for it occurring is idle speculation, but I can tell you how to fix it.

  1. Take the back off the Vox.  Use a fingernail, or something thin to pop off the plastic quilted cover.
  2. Gently remove the battery.  This is the large, thin rectangle taking up most of the left hand side.  The battery is attached to the Vox with a small cable, emerging from the bottom right  hand corner of the battery.  This step makes it easier to access the cable plug.
  3. Grasp the small white plug at the end of the cable.  Gently wiggle it while pulling, to detach it from the Vox.
  4. Once you have unplugged the battery, plug it in again, making sure you feel a “click”.  If you don’t feel the click, try again.  The plug is not properly seated, otherwise.
  5. Place the battery back in its compartment, ensuring you loop the wires under the tab at the bottom of the battery housing, so they don’t get pinched.
  6. Snap the back of the Vox back into place.

Voila!  Your power problem will now, hopefully, be fixed.  Also, while the cover is off, take note of the small recessed button, located next to the upper right-hand corner of the battery.  This is the manual reset button, just in case you ever need it.



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