I admit it, I got a little excited when I read the Nook would be getting an (official) web browser. And the Barnes and Noble’s 1.3 software update hit yesterday. In addition to that (beta) web browser, the Android-powered Nook sees some performance and UI enhancements, along with a pair of games, and B&N in-store book reading (free, up to an hour a day).
I grabbed my co-workers Nook yesterday, and my first discovery was that the firmware upgrade isn’t delivered over cellular. As my MiFi has been decommissioned, the lack of available WiFi poised a bit of a problem. Fortunately, B&N provides possibly the simplest download to install option I’ve seen. (Compared to a number unfun GPS and Windows Mobile experiences I’ve had over the years.) Download the package, attach the Nook to PC via USB cable, drag the file into the root directory, unplug the USB cable, watch the Nook update itself.
Of course, my headline is mostly non-sensical as the iPad and Nook exist in somewhat overlapping but mostly distinct functional realms. The iPad does so much, but at the same time not quite enough to meet my productivity needs.
But a web-browsing eReader for half the price of an iPad might hit my content consumption sweet spot. Unfortunately, the browsing experience is weird and inefficient on the Nook as far as I can tell. Again, due to lack of WiFi, I didn’t get much testing in but could immediately sense it’s less than ideal. So now I’m thinking a WiFi-only eReader (dump the cellular, lower the price) with an IMAP email client (mainly for reading or forwarding, limited or no replying) and an RSS reader instead of full on web-browser could be pretty hot.
Related, Amazon has pretty much killed RSS on their platform by charging $2/mo/feed. As a publisher, I’d rather pay them 25 cents a subscriber to get the content out there. As a reader, forget it. It’s not worth the expense if you read more than a few feeds. And speaking of that Kindle, they’ve been awfully quiet on the software front lately…
For a “real” hands on with the updated Nook, head on over to the Mobile Gadgeteer where they’ve put together a 15 minute video and 50 photos.
Click to enlarge: