iPad 2 launch: Are Kobo and RIM crying right now? They might want to

iPad 2 launch: Are Kobo and RIM crying right now? They might want to

All of nerd-topia is on the Internet this afternoon (as opposed every other afternoon?), poring over the details of Apple’s iPad 2 launch. In short, the new iPad is slimmer, faster, lasts longer, comes with two cameras, and a partridge in a pear tree all at the same price point as the previous model. Will all that convince people to ditch their existing iPads and buy new ones? Probably not, unless they’re dying to do some video chatting.

Available in Canada on March 25, Apple is going to beat Research in Motion’s Playbook to store shelves by weeks (we warned about this months ago), leaving BlackBerry fans waiting just a bit longer for their evasive dose of tablet fun. People who are in the market for a tablet but haven’t bought an iPad may hold out for the other offerings coming out in RIM, Android or HP flavours, but Apple’s lead is going to be hard to beat.

Another Canadian company—Kobo—might want to start worrying as well, as recent moves from California make Apple a more solid player in the e-book market. First, there was the announcement that Apple is going to start demanding a cut from e-book sellers who sell through Apple devices, and then today’s confirmation that Random House will start selling 17,000 books through the iBookstore.

Kobo for their part doesn’t seem worried about Apple (yet). The Informer asked Michael Serbinis, Kobo’s CEO, what he thought about the iPad as competition for the Kobo reader. “Some people will want to have all the bells and whistles and others will still look for that dedicated e-reading device… Having more devices for people to enjoy reading on, allows more people to discover e-reading.” The iPad 2 doesn’t worry him specifically. Says Serbinis: “We embrace the introduction of new devices and form factors as it opens up new channels through which we can introduce e-reading.”

Kobo is betting that an open, flexible platform will keep them in the game even while giants like Apple and Amazon stomp around. We love Canadian success stories, but it’s probably a good thing that their plans don’t seem to focus on hardware sales.

• The iPad 2 [Engadget]
• Playbook faces new No. 1 in iPad2 [National Post]