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Android e-reader drops price, as Wi-Fi only version debuts

Jun 21, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Barnes & Noble is shipping a cheaper version of its Android-based Nook e-reader without a 3G modem. Except for broadband, the $149 Nook Wi-Fi offers all the features of the original Nook, now reduced in price to $199 and called the “Nook 3G,” and both versions now have free access to AT&T's nationwide Wi-Fi network.

Earlier this year, Barnes & Noble introduced its Android-based Nook e-reader, and despite some rough edges, the product has become a hot seller. Last month, the company anointed Pandigital's Android-based Novel tablet as the first third-party device offering integrated functions that support Barnes & Noble's eBookstore.

Nook Wi-Fi

Reduced from the original $260 pricetag, the Nook 3G is now the first under-$200 dedicated full-featured e-book reader that offers both free 3G wireless and Wi-Fi connectivity, claims Barnes & Noble. Aside from the lack of a 3G modem, the Nook Wi-Fi appears to be identical except for having shed a half an ounce to weigh in at 11.6 ounces (329 grams).

In addition, it offers a white back-panel to easily differentiate it from the to easily differentiate it from the gray-paneled Nook 3G (right), says Barnes & Noble. Four other back-panel colors are said to be optional. 

Announced by book retail giant Barnes & Noble (B&N) in October, the Nook is the first of several e-readers combining a standard monochrome E Ink e-reader display with a secondary Android screen. In the case of the Nook, however, the Android interface is dedicated solely to communicating with the B&N online book store.

Both the Nook Wi-Fi and Nook 3G share the original model's six-inch E Ink Vizplex monochrome display with 16-level grayscale, as well as its secondary 3.5-inch color TFT touchscreen. The 7.7 by 4.9 by 0.5 inch tablets offer a microSD slot, MP3 player, mono speaker, and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, says the company.

The e-readers support ePUB, eReader, and PDF formats, in addition to offering integrated access to B&N's over one million titles, including over 500,000 free eBooks. (For more information, please see our earlier coverage, here.)

Software upgraded with free AT&T WiFi

A version1.4 update is now available for all the Nook devices, offering complimentary access to AT&T's nationwide Wi-Fi network, says the company. Other new 1.4 features are said to include a Go To Page feature, enabling customers to jump to a specific page number in an open e-book. In addition, performance enhancements have been made, and the company has added an "extra extra" large font.

The Nook Wi-Fi offers all the software features of Nook 3G, including LendMe technology, enabling customers to share e-books with friends for up to 14 days, says the company. Other common features include Read In Store, which enable users to browse complete ebooks in Barnes & Noble stores at no cost, as well as More In Store, which is said to offers free, exclusive content and special promotions.

Stated Tony Astarita, VP, Digital Products, Barnes & Noble.com, "This expanded choice offers best-in-class, best-priced dedicated eBook Readers featuring eBook sharing, access to our vast eBookstore, great free and exclusive content and much more."

Availability

The Nook Wi-Fi is available now online for $149, and the Nook 3G is available for $199. More information and links to online sales may be found here. The Nook Wi-Fi will be stocked in select Barnes & Noble and Best Buy stores later this month, and will roll out to all stores later this summer, says B&N.

Version 1.4 of the Nook software is available for download here. Nook devices connected to Wi-Fi will receive an automatic Nook v1.4 update upon syncing over the next week, says the company.


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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