Kobo ebook readers will be losing their ability to read web articles saved to the Pocket read-later service later this summer. Though Pocket integration has been available on Kobo devices for years, the functionality will stop working after August 15th, 2023, when Pocket will require all of its users to transition to Firefox accounts to log in. Goodereader.com first reported this change earlier this week.
Mozilla, the maker of Firefox and current owner of Pocket, says in a support document that Kobo devices “do not support the specific modern web technologies that Firefox accounts require” and, therefore, will not be able to use Firefox logins when the change is implemented. The company says it is requiring Firefox logins in Pocket in order to provide security features like two-factor authentication.
For owners of Kobo devices, it’s hard not to see this as a big loss. Kobo’s Pocket integration worked very well — it had automatic two-way syncing; offered a great reading experience, including nice-to-read typefaces and pagination for articles; and supported search and other sorting features. It is, by far, the best way to read web articles on an E Ink device. Though you can send Pocket articles to Amazon’s Kindle devices through some third-party services, those only work one-way and are not as easy to use or as well integrated as Kobo’s Pocket feature.
Kobo’s Pocket integration was the best way to read web articles on an E Ink device
There are E Ink devices from companies such as Boox that support Android apps, and in theory, Pocket should still be available on them after the Firefox account transition. But those rely on the Pocket Android app, which was designed for phones with color touchscreens and not the slow-refreshing E Ink screens used on ebook readers. The Pocket Android app doesn’t support pagination and requires vertical scrolling to see more of an article, which is still a lousy experience on even the latest E Ink devices. It also doesn’t have as nice fonts or presentation as the Kobo integration.
Kobo and its owner Rakuten have yet to issue any statement or guidance to its customers about this upcoming change, but it’s likely that it will have to remove the Pocket integration before this takes effect. We’ve reached out to both Pocket and Kobo for comment on the situation and will update this article should they respond.