Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Barnes & Noble Announces Nook - New Semi-Color eBook Reader

Nook eReader from Barnes & Noble Color

The “nook” ebook reader arrives from Barnes & Noble and you can pre-order one today.  Here’s a few quick facts about this new eReader:

  • Cost: $259 – just like the current Kindle 2, this one costs $259.  Keep in mind that you’ll be paying sales tax on this also since there’s a Barnes & Noble in about every place you might purchase from.
  • Powered By Android – They call it “android based” meaning its somewhat powered by Google’s android.
  • Dimensions – 7.7 x 4.9 x 0.5 Inches (compares to 8X5.3X0.36 on Kindle)
  • Weight – 11.2 ounces (compares to 10.2 oz of the Kindle 2)

Nook eReader Main Display

  • Main Display – e-ink display is from Vizplex and is a 600X800-pixel screen with 16 shades of gray color (yes you read right color) screen.  This main display is not a touch screen or color unfortunately

Nook eReader Color, Touchscreen LCD

  • 2 Screens?  Yep, there is the main display where the book itself is read and the lower, 3.5” screen where you select the book and other details.  This lower “screen” is touchscreen unlike the main reading area
  • Wireless – Includes built-in WiFi (802.11 b/g) AND AT&T 3G

Nook eReader Connectors

  • Storage – 2GB internal AND a microSD expansion slot up to a total of 16GB of storage(supplemental microSD or microSDHC cards. Class 2, 4, and 6 cards are also supported)
  • Others Stuff – MP3 Player (you can listen to music & read from ebooks at same time) , built-in mono speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack & micro USB port.  Font sizes can be adjusted for easy viewing.  The back cover is replaceable/interchangeable with 4 color choices.
  • Format Support: The nook supports ePub, PDB, PDF, MP3, JPG and possibly other formats
  • Custom Screensaver – The nook supports loading of your own wallpaper/screensaver images using JPG, GIF, PNG or BMP formats Find out more about nook
  • Notation – supports note making, highlighting etc.
  • Sharing – A unique feature of the nook allows “lendme” which lets users share from nook to nook. The FAQ says that starting Nov. 30th, you can lend to and from any device with the Barnes & Noble eReader app, including PC, Mac OS®, BlackBerry®, iPhone™ and iPod® touch. All you need to know is your friend’s email address. You can lend many of your eBooks one time for a maximum of 14 days. When you use our LendMe™ technology, you will not be able to read your eBook while it is on loan, but you always get it back.
  • PDF Support?  Yep.  According to the FAQ it supports PDF documents
  • Battery – The battery is a lithium polymer just like the Kindle, but it’s replaceable which has a nice ring to it.  The battery time appears to be about 28% less than the Kindle however probably due to the extra screen…
  • When?  You can preorder now, but the first shipments are expected near the end of November – at least by 11/30.  According to the FAQ, at least one nook will be available to demo at every Barnes and Noble Store beginning November 30th
  • Returns – I called customer support to ask this question and she claimed she had never heard of the Nook (that was the official line at least) so I found on the FAQ that there is a 14 days from receipt return policy (via store or online) with a 10% restocking fee that applies when the seal on the box/shrink-wrap is opened.


What You Get with Nook Purchase:

  • The nook eBook Reader
  • Micro-USB 2.0 cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • AC Adapter
  • Rechargeable Battery (installed)


Nook eReader from Barnes & Noble Custom Screensaver


Nook eReader from Barnes & Noble 3

Nook eReader from Barnes & Noble

As a fan of the Kindle 2, I’m intrigued.  So intrigued I’m planning on reviewing one in November…  Things I see that are weaker compared to the Kindle:

  • No text-to-speech at least thus far
  • A little heavier and thicker
  • Battery life is worse
  • I kind of favor Amazon as a retailer for a few reasons.  One of the big ones though is that I don’t have to pay sales tax on the Amazon device or books which I likely will have to do with the nook.

Obviously this doesn’t put the price at $150 or $99 like many GeekTonic readers have said needs to happen before they’ll consider biting.  But it does provide some very powerful competition that the Kindle frankly didn’t have until now in my opinion.

If you would like more information on Nook or are ready to pre-order head over to the Barnes & Noble Nook Website.  Those who pre-order now get a free copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” book