Now, for $179.99, the Kobo Vox comes with Google Play preloaded. Existing Kobo Vox owners can also get Google Play by upgrading their software. This gives the e-reader/tablet access to more than 500,000 apps, as opposed to the 350,000 in the GetJar store that the tablet previous supported.
The company claims that the software will automatically update when the tablet is connected to the Web. But, we found with our Vox that we had to upgrade it manually by going to Settings from the Home screen. Then tapping System Update. When it found the update was available, we were able to tell it to Update Now. After restarting and downloading the files we were up and running.
While still running Android 2.3.4, the device's upgrade does offer wider access to apps including Google Play Moves, as well as automatic integration and backup through Google. And the Vox maintains is competitive library of 2.5 million e-books, magazines and newspapers, while costing $20 less than Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet.
The Kobo CTO, Dan Leibu had this to say about the news. “Google Play is the perfect addition for the content-rich eReading environment of the Kobo Vox. This is another big step in our ability to give people an open and compelling multimedia device that can be customized to suit their needs. Having access to the thousands of games, apps and tools offered by Google Play makes the Kobo Vox an eReader and so much more.”
In other Kobo news, the company recently announced they offer an app in the Windows Store (in addition to Apple's App Store and in Google Play). Whether access to the Google Play store from the device will boost Kobo Vox sales, however, is an open question.