Another day, another Universal Windows App show up. As Microsoft allegedly makes bold steps to push adoption of Windows 10, developers seemingly are warming up to the company’s vision for a unified app model, with the latest joining the ranks being eBook distributor Kobo.
A direct competitor to Amazon in the eBook space, Japanese-owned Toronto-based Kobo Inc. sells everything eBook related, from e-Ink eReaders, to waterproof eReaders, to Tablets, and of course, books. Kobo currently has more than 4 million titles in its stock for 16 countries; it even offers a self-publishing platform. Kobo has both a desktop app and a Modern app for Windows, the latter of which was updated to version 5.0 and a Universal Windows App (UWA), introducing many unique functionalities to Windows 10.
The user interface is clean, almost spartan. Interestingly, while the developer touts it as ‘optimized for Windows 10,’ the UX still retains many elements from Windows 8’s design guidelines, with horizontal main menu (even with a hamburger up top) and horizontal swiping navigations. The reading experience is satisfactory with all the basic optimization options in place. As with the Kobo eReader, users are not limited to the book store for their reading materials: importing ePUBs is but a drag-and-drop away.
The benefit of the UWA model shows in two new functionalities include integration with Cortana and support for Continuum if you are using the app on the phone. Just a call to Cortana and a simple command, a book you are reading or the bookstore will be magically opened for you. With Continuum, the reading experience becomes desktop-like once a supported phone is attached to a screen, either wirelessly or through the Microsoft Display Dock.
Overall, the app should be welcomed by existing Kobo users, book lovers, or people simply looking for a functional ePUB reader on Windows devices.