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All-New Nook offers monochrome touchscreen

May 24, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Barnes & Noble announced a Kindle-like six-inch monochrome touchscreen version of its Nook e-reader, featuring an E Ink Pearl display. The Android 2.1-based “All-New Nook” offers 2GB of RAM, a microSD slot, Wi-Fi, and that's about it — but it weighs only 7.48 ounces, lasts up to a claimed two months per battery charge, and costs just $139, says the company.

Now available for pre-order for $139, the All-New Nook, subtitled "the Simple Touch Reader," is due to ship June 10. The device builds upon a successful string of Android-based e-readers including the original dual-screen Nook — no longer being produced, but still available for $119 with Wi-Fi only. The newer Nook Color, still available for $249, has been particularly popular, and recently received a more tablet-like software refresh in version 1.2.


All-New Nook

(Click to enlarge)

While the Nook Color has an all color touchscreen display, and the original Nook provides a tiny color touchscreen along with a six-inch monochrome E Ink display, the All-New Nook offers a touch interface on an all-monochrome six-inch E Ink Pearl display. As a result, Barnes & Noble (B&N) can tout the device as having a much simpler button interface compared to Amazon.com's six-inch monochrome Kindle (which, however, sells for as little as $119).

E Ink's Pearl technology, which is also part of its color Triton display, takes the screens from a contrast ratio typical of newspapers to a higher ratio that's typical of paperback books. Touted as offering "the whitest reflective displays in the industry," Pearl made its debut in an improved version of Amazon's 9.7-inch Kindle DX, and is now also found in the third-generation, six-inch Kindle mentioned above.

The key difference is that the Kindle models all still lack touch interfaces, whereas B&N's new e-reader offers full touch support.  The six-inch E Ink Pearl display provides a "no-glare" display, as well as 50 percent more contrast than the original Nook, claims B&N.

The device (pictured at left) weighs in at a mere 7.48 ounces (212 grams), and at 6.5 x 5.0 x 0.47 inches, it's smaller than the Kindle, says Barnes & Noble. The All-New Nook is said to be 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than the original Nook Wi-Fi.

B&N did not list the processor used in the All-New Nook, which runs Android 2.1, but says the device offers Wi-Fi and 2GB of internal memory, enough to hold up to 1,000 digital books internally. More storage is available via a microSD card, where users can transfer personal EPUB and PDF files, says B&N.

While the Kindle is said to last up to a month with Wi-Fi turned off, the All-New Nook can last up to two months on a single charge, claims B&N. The device is also said to offer 80 percent less "flashing" than other e-readers when turning pages.

Among the few hardware controls are some side buttons that can be used with a new "Fast Page" feature that lets users press and hold a button to quickly scan through content. Users can also look up words, highlight passages, change to seven different font sizes, or switch between six font styles. Additional features include the ability to search by typing on the on-screen keyboard (pictured), which "appears only when a customer needs it," says B&N.

As with the original Nook, the operating system appears to be a dedicated custom version of Android, without general web browsing or other non-B&N-related functionality. The All-New Nook offers access to B&N's online store of more than two million books, magazines, and newspapers. There are also more than 80 popular national and local market newspapers and magazines from the Nook Newsstand, says the company.


Nook Color (left) and earlier Nook Wi-Fi (right)

Nook features are said to include recommendations from Barnes & Noble's experts, personalized according to customers' favorite authors and genres. There's also a Nook Friends service enabling book recommendations from friends, complete with Twitter and Facebook integration.

B&N's LendMe technology is said to let users lend eligible books to friends at no cost for 14 days. In a few weeks, Barnes & Noble says it will offer a new website called mynook.com, where customers can get recommendations, access their Nook Library, and manage their device.

Stated William Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble, "Touch makes it simple to use, and the beautifully compact design makes it the most portable eReader in its class."

All-New Nook on YouTube
Source: Associated Press
(Click to play)

Availability

The All-New Nook can now be pre-ordered for $139 and is expected to begin shipping on or about June 10, It will also be available beginning next month at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, and Books-A-Million. More information may be found on Barnes & Noble's Nook site.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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