B&N Color Nook Bridges Tablets, e-Readers

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New York - Barnes & Noble is positioning its first color e-reader as combining the performance of a full-featured wireless tablet and the "reader-centricity of a dedicated e-reader," CEO William Lynch said.


Jamie Iannone, president of B&N's digital products group, called the $249 Wi-Fi-equipped Color Nook a "reader's tablet."

The device, based on the Android 2.0 OS, is due in late November in Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Walmart and Books-A-Million stores. It will join B&N's $149 Nook Wi-Fi and $199 Nook 3G, both with black-and-white E-Ink screens, which eliminate glare in the daylight.

In touting the device's e-reader suitability, the company cited the 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, which features proprietary LG technology said to maximize the readability of the back-lit screen while minimizing, but not eliminating, glare. The display also features in-plane switching (IPS) like the iPad to deliver a 170-degree viewing angle, and 1,024 by 600 resolution, which delivers more pixels per inch than the larger iPad despite the iPad's higher resolution screen, company representatives said. The screen displays more than 16 million colors.

Compared to larger tablets such as the iPad, the Color Nook is also well-suited for reading because of its light weight, at 15.8 ounces, and small size, at 8.1 inches by 5 inches by 0.48 inches, the company said.

The device delivers eight hours of reading time, stores audio and video files for portable playback, and browses the web, though the initial versions lacks Adobe Flash support, the most popular video format in use on the web.

The Color Nook will also download Android apps from a B&N store. Although it won't download apps directly from Google's Android Marketplace, B&N said it would be easy for Android-app developers to port their existing Android apps to B&N's store.

Like tablets, the device stores music, video and photo files and comes with Microsoft Office file-viewing software.

It also features an included Pandora Internet radio app.

The device will also display magazines in full color as well as more than 100 color picture books for children with such features as limited animation, sound effects and interactivity. The picture books will also read themselves if a parent is too tired to read the book for their child.

Other features include 8GB of embedded memory and 32GB microSD card slot.

The device isn't the first color LCD touchscreen ereader based on the Android OS. Pandigital earlier announced a $199 7-inch Novel with integrated Barnes & Noble bookstore, but that model offers fewer features and comes with 800 by 600 resistive touchscreen, with stylus included. Like the Color Nook, it lacks access to the Android Marketplace.

 For its current Nooks, B&N plans a software upgrade available in mid- to late November.


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