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Barnes & Noble goes Android with the NOOKcolor

by Scott Bicheno on 27 October 2010, 09:57

Tags: Barnes & Noble

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An e-reader on steroids

Convergence has been an overused term in the tech world for as long as we can remember, but for the past couple of years it really has been established in earnest. While most of the time we're referring to the convergence of the PC and mobile phone spaces, this shift has dragged many other sectors into its orbit.

Amazon pioneered the technological evolution of book reading with the Kindle e-reader, and since Apple launched the iPad earlier this year there has been considerable speculation that the tablet may supplant the stand-alone e-reader. Rival book-seller Barnes & Noble has decided to render that debate redundant by making a device that's a combination of the two.

As ever with convergent devices, it remains to be seen whether this is the best of both worlds, or the worst. The NOOKcolor has a seven inch backlit colour screen. When we first read it had a colour screen we thought perhaps Qualcomm's Mirasol had finally emerged but no. This one is called VividView (TM) and is backlit. While there are many advantages to having a backlit screen, it's a big drain on battery life and it's interesting that B&N has sidestepped that issue in its press release.

The other big convergent move is the adoption of Android as the OS for the NOOKcolor. The reason for this is to enable a bunch more functionality, especially social features such as the LendMe App, which allows you to borrow and lend books. It will also enable interactive books for kids.

But this isn't a tablet. For a start the NOOKcolor doesn't have mobile connectivity - only Wi-Fi - and Google hasn't allowed the Android Marketplace to reside on it. So any apps you find on the NOOKcolor will have been written especially for it. On the flip-side, it only costs $249, which puts it firmly in the e-reader bracket. So it will probably be positioned as an e-reader on steroids.

"With NOOKcolor, we've combined the functionality and convenience of a 7-inch portable wireless tablet with the reader-centricity of a dedicated eReader, and employed a breakthrough colour screen technology that will wow customers," said William Lynch, CEO of B&N.

"NOOKcolor enables Web browsing over Wi-Fi, music, games and much more, but reading anything and everything in brilliant color is the killer app and squarely the product's focus. At $249, NOOKcolor offers a tremendous value, particularly in comparison to the many other 7-inch tablets coming to market at twice the cost and often requiring expensive data plans."


UPDATE - Just had a look at the NOOKcolor website and it talks about battery life of 8 hours. That's fine for a tablet, but is it enough for an e-reader?


HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

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If they can do all this for £250 right now and Android 2.x, then things are looking up for the spring time when Anroid 3 is out with proper tablet support. I don't care about 3G connectivity because I have a Desire which can act as a wireless AP anyway, so that's no big deal.

As for the battery life, you need to compare this to the iPad not ereaders, that's what consumers will do after all.
As for the battery life, you need to compare this to the iPad not ereaders, that's what consumers will do after all.

But will they? It's priced like an e-reader and sold by a book retailer…
8 hours, what the hell?!

30 days in a read outside in daylight e-ink screen for a kindle thats almost half the price.

Or 8 hours for $250……….

You'd have to be the kind of muppet that buys an iPad to go for the nook, oh wait millions did that!
It boils down to :

Monochrome vs colour - the mono kindle will lose.

Unfortunately eInk displays only gain from extended use
- you need to read from an eInk screen like kindle's for a few hours to appreciate it vs an LCD.

In a shop at instant glance, the colour LCD will look better.
Scott B;1996793
But will they? It's priced like an e-reader and sold by a book retailer…
I think so. Apple have been advertising it heavily for reading books, some people will latch onto that. It's full colour and “pretty” so some people will lump them in the same category, not everyone, but some will.