In a fanciful introductory event filled with swirling dancers, Barnes & Noble introduced the Nook Color, a full color ebook reader with a 7-inch color LCD and runs a version of the Android smartphone OS. It goes on sale on Nov. 19, but pre-orders are now being accepted. The question is, can or will this ebook reader somehow morph into a tablet PC? B&N is calling it both a tablet and an ebook reader. While Apple need not worry – iPad still is far more versatile – Amazon may be in a tizzy. Moments before I received the invite for the B&N event I got a press releases extolling Kindle sales.
B&N has eschewed the ebook standard E-Ink screen for a backlit 1024 x 600 pixel LCD displaying 16 million colors and covered by a proprietary lamination to maximize readability and minimize glare. Nook Color also will play videos from within books and magazines. Nook Color weighs less than a pound and is less than an inch thick. Also included is Nook Friends, “social reading” with access to Facebook, Twitter and Google for readers to discuss, share, recommend and borrow books, often with a single click. You’ll be able to copy and paste individual lines from books and post them with comments.
Nook Color includes 8 GB internal memory, enough to hold 6,000 books, plus a microsSD card slot for additional memory, weighs less than a pound, is equipped WiFi, and the battery lasts for eights hours of continual reading. B&N claims it can get you a book in 12 seconds, and offers free in-store reading. Conde Nast and Hearst are B&N’s primary magazine partners. Within a magazine, you can tap on an individual article to go full screen. Noon Extras also includes Soduku, chess and crossword puzzles, plus a digital music player and Pandora.
Nook Developer Program invites developers to create reading-centric apps. B&N claims it will offer more color content than any other ereader platform, with access to two million books, as well as dozens of newspapers and magazines such as USA Todsy, US Weekly, Elle, The NY Times, viewable in landscape or portrait. Kds also are served with Nook Kids, which will offer 100s picture books and more coming soon, many with interactive animations, video and text-to-speech read back capability.