The tablet market is a pretty cut throat place to be these days. On the high end Apple simply dominates with the iPad, on the middle ground Google’s new Nexus line carefully appeals to those with a strong sense of price vs. performance, and Amazon fills out the low end. This isn’t to say Amazon’s tablet offerings aren’t well spec’d, but simply put, they aren’t worth the investment if you aren’t willing to commit to Amazon’s content ecosystem. Barnes & Noble has found itself awkwardly positioned against the competition these days, and are likely hoping a price cut on its older tablet lineup will help set them apart.
Owners of Barnes & Noble's Nook Color eBook reader now have access to the largest-ever software update to their device. According to B&N, the update adds over 100 feature enhancements, access to top video and music services, popular apps, comics, and more. One of the more subtle but most requested feature upgrades is the ability to read books in portrait or landscape mode, as well as more text and font size options to play with.
Barnes & Noble is banking on better hardware and strategic relationships with third-party content providers being enough to sway potential Kindle Fire buyers over to the upcoming Nook Tablet. Officially unveiled this morning at a press event in New York, B&N confirmed what we already knew via leaked internal documents, which is that the Nook Tablet will be in stores November 17 for $249.
We like it when Amazon and Barnes & Noble go to war with each other. We like it because when the two sides try to undercut and one-up each other, the consumer wins every time. These two are responsible for sparking an eBook reader price war that brought significant savings to the eReader market in a short period of time, and it looks as though the two sides are getting ready to force the other's hand once more.
Many wondered if tablets and dedicated eBook readers could coexist, primarily because the former can do everything the latter can do, plus a whole lot more (except read comfortably in direct sunlight). But much lower prices and lighter devices have made sure that eBook readers remain relevant. On top of that, Barnes & Noble appears determined to blur the line between what constitutes a dedicated eReader and a full fledged tablet.
It looks like Microsoft is taking the kid gloves off, and putting on the 'sue everyone gloves'. The software giant has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Seattle and the International Trade Commission alleging that Android, as implemented by Barnes and Noble in the Nook, infringes on Microsoft-held patents. This isn't Redmond's first volley against the little green robot, but it might be the start of a new trend.
Barnes & Noble insists the latest Nook Color firmware upgrade (version 1.1.0) is a minor update, but collectively it improves the eReader on multiple fronts. Here's what's included:
Improvements to Wi-Fi connectivity
Improvements to Home and Shop performance
Adds ability to Pinch to Zoom in browser
Enhance the reading experience for magazines and children's books
Adds a text banner to easily identify Nook kids Read to Me books
Also of note are "general bug fixes and performance improvements," of which B&N didn't elaborate. If you own a Nook Color, you can expect to receive the update via Wi-Fi over the next few days, or you can manually download the latest firmware from here (166MB download).
Barnes & Noble on Monday credited its recently launched Nook Color for driving "robust Nook Newstand sales" to the tune of more than 650,000 digital periodical subscriptions and single copy sales in just two months.
"We are excited to offer a wide array of top periodicals and have seen explosive growth in Nook Newsstand sales since the launch of Nook Color. Our customers clearly enjoy reading digital versions of their favorite magazines in rich, beautiful color, along with their daily newspapers, with the convenience of subscription or single issue purchases," said Jonathan Shar, Vice President and General Manager of digital newsstand at Barnes & Noble. "We've had overwhelmingly positive feedback from our content partners as well and will continue to build upon our vast collection of periodicals and incorporate even more interactivity for Nook Color customers this year."
Barnes & Noble added a dozen new digital periodicals to its growing catalog last month, which now features over 120 full-color magazines and newspaper brands, the company said.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are not standing by.
Barnes and Noble's Nook Color is an interesting device, albeit rocking an older version of Android (version 2.1) that might be holding the eReader back. Come January, B&N will give its newest Nook a makeover with Android 2.2, Smartphonemag.com reports.
"I spoke today with a Barnes and Noble representative who showed me the forthcoming update on his company Nook which is slated for this January," Smartphonemag.com's Steve Green writes. "The 2.2 Android update is a game changer and literally turns the eReader into a near full Android tablet device."
According to Green, Android 2.2 gives the Nook Color a boost in both performance and battery life, though he notes "the graphics performance still seemed sluggish even with 2.2 when scrolling through magazines and webpages." The upcoming Android update will also usher in a revamped Android Market, though it's still up in the air whether or not the Nook Color will have access to it.