Barnes and Noble release their eReader

by jonathan | Oct 21, 2009 at 9:00 am | technology

nook_next to paperbacks

Yesterday Barnes and Noble announced their new eBook the Nook. The Nook is a portable ebook reader with an eink display for reading and a color touch screen for navigation. The color screen is powered by a version of Android the Google phone OS. I have to say that the few videos I have seen make the color screen look a little sluggish. The Apple cover flow style of scrolling through your books looked a little choppy. However lets not worry about those sort of things and talk about how this product compares to the other major ebook reader.

nook_angle view

Obviously the other choice for someone looking into getting an ebook reader would be the Kindle 2 and it so happens that B&N have created a page showing the differences. First of course the Kindle does not have a color touch screen and you use the eink screen for all the navigation. I imagine that the color screen is why the Nook is half an inch thick while the Kindle is .36 of an inch and the battery life for the Nook is four days shorter than the Kindle. These things aside the Nook does come with some really great new features.

The Nook has wireless access through AT&T’s cell network but it also comes with wifi connectivity as well. You really only use the network when browsing for a book or when downloading one from the cloud. The books are not that large in file size and take very little time to download. I really only see this being a major benefit for those people who do not get AT&T cell service in their homes or offices (I hear it happens to a lot of people). The Nook has a built in Micro SD slot for memory expansion and replaceable back covers.

The other differentiating feature to me is more about the B&N store than the Nook itself. Some books purchased on the B&N store can be lent to your friends for up to 14 days. So if you like a book and your friend has a Nook you can send the book to them so they can read it. You will not be able to access the book while your friend has it and when they are done they will return the book back to you. There is something really great about the idea of handing a paper book to someone for them to read. I felt like that was something the Kindle was missing.


So it comes down to whether you should purchase the Nook or the Kindle. I feel that both devices have their ups and downs. The Kindle is a second generation device and there fore should have some of the bugs worked out. The Nook is a new take of the ebook reader with dual screens and initiative new content store. B&N say they have more books but I would bet that each will have all the bestsellers, newspapers and magazines you want. Without having seen the Nook it is really hard to say which you should buy. I think B&N are in a really great position because they can put the Nook in their stores for people to look at and play with. That is something that Amazon can’t do. Devices like these really sell them selves when you look at them. Eink displays are not main stream, people want to see how it looks and performs before buying. The Nook really does have the advantage.

  • The Nook is listed as pre-order at $259
  • Comes with a USB charger and replaceable battery
  • AT&T wireless and built in wifi (802.11 b/g)
  • 2GB of storage with expandable SD slot
  • Supports EPUB, PDF, MP3, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP formats

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