Monday, November 1, 2010

Next Gen Nook to Come Out with Full Color, Touch-Screen Display - B&N ditches E-Ink

E-Reader enthusiasts, tech people, and those interested in the future of publishing and print were abuzz last week with Barnes and Noble's announcement that they were releasing a full color touch-screen version of their device. The NOOKcolor, which is going for $249, is essentially a mini-tablet that features games, music, photos, full-color magazines, a user-friendly web browser, and an app store (although its relatively small and
doesn't run all android-based apps). While most sites are holding back on final judgement on the device until the device's in November, writes, "We haven't put the Nook Color through its proper paces in our lab yet, but it looks like Barnes & Noble has built the first excellent color ebook reader."  

One important aspect of this device is that it is no longer using the e-ink technology that has been the standard for the majority of dedicated e-readers. Although the distinctions between tablets and devices like the Nook and Kindle have often been framed as "reading versus multitasking," the differences in display technology have been an integral component of the debate over item to purchase for many consumers. Some don't mind the back-lit display - I personally haven't noticed an issue with eye-fatigue and I use my Ipad a lot -  but for others its important to be able to read outside in the sunlight. I wonder if the other companies, like Amazon and Kobo, will continue with e-ink, waiting for the color e-ink to become less cost-prohibitive, or will they slowly come around to Barnes and Noble's way of thinking.

What do you think? Can the NOOKcolor go toe-to-toe with the Ipad? Does the back-lit screen mean that much to you or do you prefer E-ink?