By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 7:52 am
Gizmodo has posted what it says are photos and details of the e-book reader that Barnes & Noble is reportedly getting ready to release. The most interesting tidbit: It supposedly has a 6-inch monochrome e-ink screen that’s very much like the one on Amazon’s Kindle–but also a smaller color multi-touch LCD beneath that one, which is home to features like the keyboard and much of the book-shopping interface. It’s an interesting idea which would sidestep some of e-ink’s limitations (besides lacking color, it refreshes slowly).
The device is also said to be cheaper than the Kindle; to offer books published by Barnes & Noble itself at low prices; and to provide access to Google Books’ wealth of out-of-print tomes.
I’m still waiting for someone to release an e-book device that simply gives up on e-ink’s principal virtue–amazing, weeks-long battery life–in favor of all the benefits of color. If such a device were able to eke out ten hours on a charge, I might prefer it to an e-ink-equipped gizmo, even if it forced me to do far more babysitting of the battery.
Of course, a color device without enough battery life to read an entire book might really be a tablet computer, not an e-reader. One way or another, I suspect we’ll get the opportunity to watch “traditional” e-readers and tablets duke it out during 2010…