Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Barnes & Nobles Announce The Nook Color: My Thoughts

Image from Barnes & Noble

Today Barnes & Noble held an event in their Union Square store in New York City.  At that event they announced their new version of the Nook call the Nook Color.  Here is a quick summary of the specs and features:

  • 7" IPS LCD Touch Screen
  • 1024 x 600 screen resoltuion with support for 16 million colors
  • Screen lamination film to prevent glare on the screen
  • Weighs 15.8 ounces
  • Built in WiFi (b/g/n), no support for 3G
  • 8 GB of storage with further expansion through microSD cards
  • Android OS, though no confirmation on version and no access to Android Marketplace
  • 8 hours of battery life with WiFi turned off
  • Support of previous Nook features like LendMe
  • MSRP $249
  • Launches on or around Nov. 19th


I was never a big fan of the original Nook.  While I thought the concept to have a small touch screen to support a larger e-ink screen was great, it was never implemented well on the Nook.  The touch screen interface was hard to use and overall performance of the device was not good.  I can understand why Barnes & Noble would go for a completely new design.

I think the new device looks slick. I think the dimensions fall right in the sweet spot.  The screen size and less than 1 lbs weight makes it perfect for one handed reading.  I don't think not having 3G is a big deal, I would rather have the cost savings then the added radio for a feature I would rarely use.  I think storage is plentiful and it's nice they give folks the option to expand and load music/video on a microSD card.  I wish they would release more info on the chip set being used, cause initial hands on reports have indicated that the device is sluggish.  But that could be related to a software issue.

I think its a big benefit that they still build their software on top of Android.  However not having access to the Android Marketplace stinks; that's one of the best features of Android.  The new support for color books, magazines, and newspapers is a big add for the Nook.  Its something the Kindle does not have, but time will tell if the implementation is any better then the iPad.

I still think the Nook's biggest problem is its competitors.  Amazon sells a great single focus device for a much lower price with the newer Kindles.  The iPad has much of the same features and content partners as the Nook, but has a better battery life.  The iPad also supports both the Barnes & Noble book store (though early indications are they will not sell magazines and newspapers for the iPad) and the Kindle book store.  I will reserve final judgment until the device is released and I can get some hands on time with it, but unless you have a love for Barnes & Noble, it might be tough to get excited for the Nook Color.

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