Well, the new Nook promises to be that and something more. The e-reader uses a Pearl e-Ink screen, which seems to be the new standard for this type of device. The display flashes with up to 80% less than the previous version, which indeed had some problems when turning pages or going through menus. The screen also has an infrared layer, which means it supports touch input, just like a tablet (of course, don’t expect the same type of responsiveness you’d get from a Galaxy Tab, for example).
This is the reason why the Nook has almost no physical buttons, being 37 buttons thinner and lighter than the Kindle 3. Well, we can expect the new Kindle to have the same touch sensitive screen, but for what it’s worth, Barnes and Noble was there first. The predictions for battery life are quite stunning, as the e-reader should go on a single charge for as much as two months! That’s very impressive, but probably also very optimistic; the value was certainly obtained with WiFi off, low brightness and focusing on low power functions.
In comparison with the previous Barnes and Noble e-reader, the current one feels thinner and lighter. It also has a rubber finish on the back, being easier to hold, especially for a longer period of time (hopefully it’s the good type and will not get hot after half an hour of reading). The e-reader runs on Android 2.1 and there are some interesting apps tailored for an ultimate e-reader experience. For example, you can share a quote with others by highlighting it and sending it to a friend. Also, there are a bunch of social media apps you can use straight off the reader, united under the Nook Friends monicker, a platform introduced last year on the Nook Color.
The reader only has WiFi, which is less than the Kindle 3G version, but I guess Barnes and Noble waned to keep the price down and make the e-reader a little lighter. Straight from the box you’ll get 2 GB of flash memory (which should hold up to 1.000 books, according to the press release- probably more if you’re going to mainly read PDFs), but you can upgrade up to 32 GB and probably you’ll be able to use the reader as a music player as well.
The Nook e-reader will cost $139 and will be available starting June 10th, which is in the same territory as the Kindle WiFi, and 10 bucks more expensive than the concomitantly released Kobo Touch Edition. The device looks and feels very good, especially because of the diet it went through in comparison with the previous entry, but also because of the rubbery finish on the back. The screen is brand new and supports touch input, shortening the time and number of moves you have to make in order to open a book and start reading, while the integrated social media apps keep you connected at all times.
The price could have been lower in order to be a complete must have, but considering it’s lurking in the same waters as Amazon’s Kindle, ultimately you will grab it or pass it thanks to its features and appeal.