Nook Simple Touch May Get Web Browser, Email
May 20, 2013

Nook Simple Touch May Get Web Browser, Email

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Barnes & Noble´s entry-level e-reader, the Nook Simple Touch, may soon be transformed from a one-trick pony to a three-trick pony, according to TechCrunch. Since its initial release, the Simple Touch (and Simple Touch with Glowlight) have mostly only operated as a basic e-reader, complete with black and white screen. Yesterday, TechCrunch posted an article claiming an inside source told them these devices will soon receive an upgrade that will bring email and web browsing. This update is said to begin rolling out on June 1 and was developed following a successful update that brought the Google Play app store to Barnes & Noble´s other Nook devices.

This update also marks the first time the Simple Touch has been able to browse the web or check email. Barnes & Noble´s main competitor Amazon has run an “experimental” web browser on their Kindle e-readers since the device´s second generation, but has never offered an official browser or email support.

“The Nook Simple Touch is still pretty focused on e-books, but as an email triage device and basic browser, especially for text heavy content, it probably becomes a lot more attractive to an audience that mostly wants books but would like a little more general-use value as well,” writes TechCrunch writer Darrell Etherington in yesterday´s article.

Though this will allegedly be the first time the Simple Touch gets an email app and web browser officially, the device´s Android platform has left it open to hacking and tweaking to add all sorts of functionality Barnes & Noble may have never intended.

For instance, once the device has been rooted, games such as Angry Birds can be installed and tweaks like fast page switching can be configured.

A kind of browser was found in the 2011 version of the Nook Wi-Fi, though it appeared as if Barnes & Noble wasn´t able to prepare the browser in time. By simply typing a URL into the device´s universal search bar, users could navigate to web pages and even download ePub books. There were some obvious downsides, of course, the most notable being that the black and white e-ink screen is not the best choice for browsing the web. Users also had to scroll all the way to the top of the page if they wanted to type in another URL.

The new Simple Touch update is also said to include a new store app.

Earlier this month, TechCrunch also claimed they found reports which not only detailed Microsoft´s take over of Nook Media LLC, but also the imminent death of the Nook tablets. According to these documents, Barnes & Noble has plans to stop selling the device by 2014 as a progressive end to the tablet´s life cycle.

TechCrunch claimed these documents explained Barnes & Noble might be looking to build another Nook model that receives its content from a “third-party partner” device, though it wasn´t clear if this meant a Microsoft Windows 8 tablet. The documents claim these new, third-party partner devices could be introduced as early as next year.