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B&N Color Nook Bridges Tablets, e-Readers

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.

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

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