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Tech Report – The Nook

By Michael Connolly

Just three months after unveiling "the world's largest electronic bookstore", Barnes & Noble yesterday introduced the Nook, an electronic reading device that will compete head-on with Amazon's Kindle.

Priced at $259 – the same price as the basic Kindle after Amazon's recent price cut – the Nook is already available for pre-order through the Barnes & Noble web site. The readers will start shipping late November, just in time for the Holiday buying season.

Price is not the only similarity between the Nook and its established rival. Both the Nook and the Kindle feature 6-inch screens and the easy-to-read E Ink® display technology. Both come with 2GB of memory, enough to store up to 1,500 books. Both offer free samples, access to newspapers and magazines, and use 3G networks for super-fast download. (The Nook uses AT&T; the Kindle uses Sprint.)

But there are some important differences. The Nook features a color touch screen for easy navigation and offers more options for sharing and syncing between other devices. The Nook will also support ePub and Adobe PDF documents, an important consideration for business users.

Barnes & Noble will also take advantage of the 1,300 brick and mortar stores it has worldwide. When a customer brings a Nook into a store, the device will be instantly recognized and B&N will be able to download coupons, excerpts from upcoming books, and suggest new books based on the customer's reading history. Using the store Wi-Fi, Nook owners will be able to read entire books for free on their device while they browse the shelves or stop for a coffee.

Nook owners will also be able to "lend" eBooks to family, friends or book club members. They just choose which book they want to share and then send it to their friend's reader, cell phone or computer. However, eBooks can only be lent one time for a period of 14 days and can't be read on the original Nook while they are out on loan.

Through its free e-reader software, Barnes & Noble currently allows downloads to the iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as BlackBerrys, PCs and Macs. Despite the launch of the Nook, it will continue to support all those platforms, as well as new e-readers to be introduced by iRex and Plastic Logic.

With over 1 million titles to choose from, including 500,000 free eBooks, Barnes & Noble looks set to pick-up a major piece of the e-reader market. Expect more features and more price cuts to follow!


Comment by Milcah , posted 10/22/2009, 9:58 PM:

I'm loving this review. Sounds like an amazing device which brings me to wonder if this will be the demise of the Kindle? Thanks for such an informative article!
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