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?     


  1. No and No.

    As an Nook owner, I can say that It is a fine device in for many reason, although I will admit that the Kindle wins out with its month long battery life and extensive periodical offerings.
    In fact, that is my main beef with the Nook; that they release it without being able to secure contracts with even the most obvious players in the newspaper/magazine market.
    Where is my Economist? My Newsweek? My Wired?

    At this point, I use my Nook almost exclusively to read the New York Times everyday (although getting through that entire paper is almost impossible). I find that serious reads to fair well on this platform, because making annotations is almost impossible, and that goes for the Kindle and I'd argue even the Ipad. Nothing quite compares to being able to yank a book off your shelf and skim to exactly where I had written that "Leonard Michaels needs to get off his high horse".

    Back to the NookColor. Ok fine, they give me Newsweek now, but have you seen the magazine selection overall? It's a joke. And as far as I can tell, I don't see them digitalizing masses of comic books for the geeks either.
    Yes the screen is pretty, and yes the Android platform means that new third party software will be easily accessible, but who cares? It only has wifi, and if I want to listen to Pandora, I'll do so on my laptop, or on my iphone which has 3G!

    Hindsight is surely 20/20, and with hindsight I would have probably gone with the Kindle or better yet, the Ipad.

    And speaking of Ipad, even if the Nookcolor had enough material to clash with Apple, everything is regulated through the Nook's specific OS! Which means that the reading experience for every material is the same! Which for people who need a simple and steady experience, good. But I love the idea that every magazine can come out with an app. on the Ipad that is unique to their tastes and fully utilizes and displays their product like no one else can. The New Yorker app. is a perfect example of this.

    It's called flavor, and let's face it, Apple has gotten it right in that department.

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