Kobo Vox Gets Official Google Play Access and Google Apps via New Firmware Update

Kobo Vox gets Google Play

Here’s a pleasant surprise for Kobo Vox owners and anyone who buys a new Kobo Vox. Kobo just issued a new firmware update that officially adds the Google Play Store to the Vox for access to over 500,000 Android apps from Google, along with music and movies as well.

The update also adds several Google apps, including Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Plus, Google Talk, and ironically Google Play Books, among others.

To update your Kobo Vox, just turn it on and connect to WiFi. A little icon will appear in the upper left corner on the notifications bar. Slide open the notifications menu, tap the update and it will proceed to download and install.

Kudos to the folks at Kobo for pulling this off. Adding official Google support to their tablet is a big win for customers. The Kobo Vox instantly becomes a better tablet and users no longer have to jump through hoops by hacking the Kobo Vox to add the Google Play store unofficially.

This is an interesting approach by Kobo. I can’t remember ever hearing of a tablet getting Google support nearly a year after its release. You’d think that Kobo would be about to release a new tablet, one with Android 4.0.

In fact, this may be a sign that Kobo is about to release a new tablet. I don’t know how Google licensing agreements work, but it seems like the cost would be too high to bother with a year old device that was already outdated when it was first released. Maybe Kobo’s agreement with Google includes a new device about to be released as well. That would make more sense.

Regardless, it’s good to see Kobo continuing with their open system. Amazon and B&N would never in a million years partner with Google to officially add Google apps to their tablets. Instead Kobo continues to focus on ebooks and the social and ereading aspects rather than starting their own new Android appstore.


10 Responses to “Kobo Vox Gets Official Google Play Access and Google Apps via New Firmware Update”

  1. Out of all the eBook sellers I have dealt with over the past few years, Kobo has the most potential. Their reading awards program, social media tie-ins, and DISCOUNTED EBOOK codes are absolutely amazing (although many publishers block codes, there are ways to get around this with some titles thanks to Euro editions; the benefit of dealing with an international seller). Their public domain titles are stylized and attractive, and their regular eBook prices are competitive.

    Kobo’s company philosophy is absolutely amazing (Read Freely; anti-DRM), but they lack the hardware needed to make them a major player. The Kobo Touch is okay, but the screen contrast is incredibly sub-standard. The Kobo Vox is really a throwaway tablet, built like a toy.

    If Kobo would come out with an Android 4.0/Google Play tablet, with better or equal screen resolution than the NT, and an HD E Ink touch reader, they could take a big chunk of the market away from Amazon and B&N. Until they put out a decent device, I have a folder full of Kobo eBooks waiting for a device for them to be paired with.

  2. What about firmware updates and roots for Kobo Touch?

  3. Okay, forget rooting. Have the firmware updates by now given Kobo Touch additional features like landscape mode?

    Back to the Kobo Vox and its update, this tablet must be just fine for everything except video, games and Android 4.0, right? I agree with Andrew except for the Vox screen, it looks to me on par with the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet screens. The Android two-point-something system must have many useful apps.

    • The Kobo Touch has actually gotten more firmware updates since it has been released than any other ebook reader over the past year. Landscape mode, though? I don’t remember hearing about that…

  4. I just found this out for sure: the Kobo Touch does not have landscape mode, except for PDFs. By contrast, the Kobo Vox has landscape mode all around.

  5. I have an issue with my vox opening books in the kobo library. Sometimes they open ok. Other times they start to open then disappear and the vox freezes. I have approached Kobo on these issues. They suggest cache clearing and factory resets. I have tried all but nothing really changes. Other than this the vox works ok loading and opening local library books and kindle books. Has anyone had similar issues and more important found a solution. It seems to me that the Kobo Library could have an inherent problem. Thanks

  6. Has anyone else had this problem after the recent update for Google Play? —

    After the update the Google Play App would not allow a Google account to be added.

    Kobo support provided a link to an update file which once installed my Vox was unable to search for an update during the “Getting Started” setup phase constantly failing with a “Tablet Upgrade Error”.

    Is there a full install of the OS as opposed to an “upgrade” that searches for an upgrade after being applied?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can answer this or provide a solution.

  7. well i did not get the upgrade where do i download it? it did not download automatically…anyone know

    • You can manually check for the update by going to settings > about tablet > check for firmware updates. Or something along those lines.