October 27, 2010

Barnes & Noble Announces Color E-Book Reader

The first dedicated electronic book reader to feature a color screen has been announced, and--surprise, surprise--it's not an upgraded version of the Amazon Kindle.

Instead, Barnes & Noble announced on Tuesday that they are currently taking preorders for the NOOKcolor, an upgraded version of their existing e-book reader that will eschew a black-and-white display for a seven-inch color touch screen. It will ship starting on November 19 and will cost $249, $100 more than the current Nook model offered by the bookstore chain.

"With Nook Color, we've combined the functionality and convenience of a seven-inch portable wireless tablet with the reader-centricity of a dedicated e-reader," Barnes & Noble chief executive William Lynch said in a statement.

"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," he added.

According to AP Retail Writers Mae Anderson and Sarah Skidmore, NOOKcolor will weigh about a pound and will boast a battery life of about eight hours before it needs recharging. The device will run using the Android operating system, and will also feature a web browser and a Barnes & Noble-branded app store. NOOKcolor will be able to read books, magazines, and newspapers, and the company has announced plans to expand the amount of e-books that they offer for use with the device.

"I think Barnes & Noble did a pretty good job presenting this device as its own e-reader instead of just a cheaper version of the iPad," Michael Norris, an analyst with Simba Information, told Anderson and Skidmore on Tuesday. "It is focused on the reading experience."

"Nook has been successful because Barnes & Noble brings book buyers through its doors every day," Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey added in an interview with Reuters. McQuivey's company has estimated that Barnes & Noble will have sold over 2 million Nook units by year's end, and could challenge for second place in terms of market share. Amazon's Kindle, the industry leader, is projected to top the six million mark in total sales, with Sony's Reader currently in the runner-up position.


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