Tag Archives | Barnes & Noble Nook

Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire: A Guide to Decide

Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire

If it’s a cheap tablet you’re after, Barnes & Noble and Amazon want your business. Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s $249 Nook Tablet both look promising on paper—the former with its suite of Amazon services, and latter with its superior specs and more diverse streaming video offerings—but chances are, you’ve only got room for one tablet on your holiday wish list.

As is often the case with gadgets, finding the best 7-inch tablet is a matter of figuring out your personal needs. Below, I’ll divvy up the strengths of the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire so you can figure out what’s most important.

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Barnes & Noble’s New Nook Attempts to Out-Kindle the Kindle

Barnes & Noble’s first e-reader was the original E Ink version of the Nook, which had its virtues but lagged far behind Amazon.com’s Kindle in terms of overall polish. Then the company released the Nook Color, which went off in an un-Kindle-ish direction: color, richly-formatted magazines, and Android apps.

Today, B&N announced another new Nook–and this one, it appears, is meant to take the Kindle on more squarely than either of its predecessors.It’s $139 (matching the price of the Wi-Fi Kindle, but not the ad-supported one). It looks like a Kindle, with a gray case and 6″ E Ink screen (and no color touchscreen strip, the most striking feature of the original Nook). It stresses great battery life–in fact, Barnes & Noble is claiming two months on a charge, vs. one month for the Kindle.

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Apple’s E-Book Policy Claims an Early Victim

In a venomous blog post, a startup called BeamItDown Software says it’s going out of business, and squares the blame entirely on Apple’s in-app purchase policy.

BeamItDown’s iFlow Reader, a digital reading app for iOS, relied on e-book sales for revenue. But because Apple takes a 30 percent cut of anything purchased within an app, and e-book publishers only give 30 percent their revenue to the book seller, iFlow Reader would actually lose money on every book sold.

“We put our faith in Apple and they screwed us,” BeamItDown’s blog post says.

BeamItDown may not be the last victim, either, because the policy that caused this small company to go out of business may soon be unavoidable for major e-book players like Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

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More Patent Madness: Microsoft is Suing Barnes & Noble

More news in the never-ending saga of technology companies suing each other over patents: Microsoft is suing Barnes & Noble and its manfuacturing partners Foxconn and Inventec, saying that the bookseller’s Android-based Nook and Nookcolor e-readers violate Microsoft software patents dating back to the 1990s. The move isn’t a shocker given that Microsoft had already sued Motorola over Android phones and struck licensing agreements with HTC (for Android phones) and Amazon.com (for the not-based-on-Android Kindle e-reader).

The license fee that Microsoft says it expects makers of Android devices to pay it would make it the only company to collect a royalty on every Android-based gadget sold. (Google gives away the software.)

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The Nookcolor for $199

Barnes & Noble’s Nookcolor is a good e-reader that leads a secret double life as a reasonably-priced Android tablet. And now B&N is selling them on eBay for a startlingly low price: $199.


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Call It the Un-Kindle

Last Gadget Standing Nominee: Barnes & Noble Nookcolor

Price: $249

The simplest way to describe 2009’s first-generation Nook e-reader was to say it was a lot like an Amazon Kindle. The easiest way to describe the new Nookcolor is that it’s several things that a Kindle is not. This Android-based gizmo has a color touchscreen, giving it a richer interface and the ability to handle magazines and kids’ books much better than the Kindle. And the backlit screen is perfectly legible in dim lighting which renders the Kindle’s display invisible. (Of course, it also saps the Nook’s battery far more rapidly: The Nook gets eight hours on a charge, while the Kindle can run for weeks.)

The Nookcolor isn’t a full-blown Android tablet–B&N calls it a “reader’s tablet,” and hasn’t given it access to the Android Market app store. But the company is launching a third-party app store of its own early next year. And if it catches on, the Nookcolor could be an intriguing alternative to much pricier Android tablets such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.


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Finally, an E-Reader in Living Color

For a long time, I’ve hoped that someone would build an e-reader in a Kindle-like form factor, but with a color LCD display–not because I was positive it’s a better way to go than E-Ink, but because I thought it was worth a try. Barnes & Noble’s Nookcolor is pretty much the e-reader I was thinking about–and I took it for a test drive for my latest Technologizer column on TIME.com.

The Nookcolor isn’t a Kindle killer: I think a lot of E-Ink fans aren’t going to be swayed by the idea of swapping a month of battery life and a glare-free screen for eight hours on a charge, color, and touch. But the Nookcolor has a lot to recommend it (along with a few glitches which I hope B&N will fix shortly–it’s been conscientious about releasing regular updates for the original Nook).

If the Nookcolor is a hit, will Amazon respond with a color-LCD Kindle? You never know, but the most obvious answer is: no, probably not. Last year, Jeff Bezos said a color Kindle was years off; the fact that the Kindle uses E-Ink is a defining aspect of its personality. It’s what makes a Kindle a Kindle, and my guess is that from this point out, e-reader buyers will get to pick from two very different approaches to e-readers. (On the other hand, it wouldn’t be a stunner if other players such as Sony tried LCD.)

While I was mulling over the subject of e-readers I also blogged at Techland on the fact that I do most of my e-reading on devices that aren’t actually e-readers–my iPhone, especially. I called that post “The Best E-Reader May Be No E-Reader at All.”

 


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Engadget’s Nookcolor Review

Engadget’s Josh Topolsky has a Barnes & Noble Nookcolor. He doesn’t absolutely love it, but he does give it a generally upbeat review.


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Nookcolor: The Third-Party Android App Story

Barnes & Noble has been intimating that Android applications for the upcoming color version of its Nook e-reader will be different from those already downloadable from Google’s Android Market. But exactly how?  For one thing, people accessing Android apps on the Nookcolor tablet won’t necessarily even need to know–or care–anything about Android, explained Claudia Romanini, the head of Nook developer arm Nookdeveloper, in an interview this week.

Instead, developers creating apps for the Nook e-reader will be urged to build “reader-center apps that will blend in seamlessly with our reader’s tablet environment,” she told me.

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Barnes & Noble Takes the Wraps Off of Nookcolor and Android Developers Program

Well beyond its seven-inch–yet iPad-like–color screen, Barnes & Noble’s new Android-based Nookcolor is packed with new features that include a video-capable magazine library, ArticleView, e-book “borrowing,” and much more, as demo’d at a New York City launch event on Monday night. B&N is in it for the long haul with the color e-reader, with an upgrade to Android 2.2 planned for early next year–and don’t expect the price to budge soon from $249.

Along with Nookcolor, B&N also unveiled a new library of children’s books called Nook Kids, plus the bookseller’s first application development program for Android.

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