An Android Tablet By Any Other Name? (Nook Color)


It looks as if the tablet computing floodgates are about to burst wide open. And with rumors of the Nook Color, supported by a screen protector kit graphic that I’ve taken some creative liberties with (above), I’m wondering what exactly constitutes a tablet. The original Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader is Android-based, so it stands to reason that the new model expected to be introduced tomorrow will be as well. So, if the speculation holds up, we might find ourselves an inexpensive ($250) color, touchscreen Android tablet. Because, not only does the existing Nook provide digital literature, it also offers games and web browsing. Sounds tablet-esque, does it not…?

And, in other Nook news, we’ve got something a little more concrete to share with existing owners. Barnes & Noble has announced that software version 1.5 update will launch next month, featuring:

  • Faster Page Turns
  • Improved Search
  • Customized B&N Library Organization
  • Password Protection
  • Sync Your Last Page to Other Devices

9 thoughts on “An Android Tablet By Any Other Name? (Nook Color)”

  1. Regardless of whatever new hardware and features are unveiled tomorrow, I surely hope both the design and speed of the Nook UI see massive improvements. As currently implemented, it’s holding B&N back…

  2. A full-fledged tablet might be a final nail for them, though. Does B&N really need to be marketing and selling hardware competing with a much cheaper product (Kindle) and a much more impressive tablet (iPad) when they can’t get their own house in order? Riggio was able to fend Burkle’s boardroom coup off last month, but just barely. The company is (and has been) making seriously questionable business decisions. A full-fledged Nook tablet would probably fall under the category of “Unwise” from a business point-of-view (no matter how nice the device might end up being).

    And, from the content consumption end, if the company fails, what happens to the DRM’d books on the Nook?

    I always figured B&N would survive while Borders failed. But I’m no longer sure about that. It looks like they might both fail at the same time…

  3. @Dave: have you tried Nook with latest firmware? I have original version (3G) and it’s a lot better than what it was when it first came out.

    @Geoffrey: B&N is doing an interesting initiative with Nook Kids (, so they are able to differentiate themselves from Kindle. And Nook’s e-reader software might not be as good as Amazon’s yet (1.5 update will help that), but it’s also on all the same platforms, so they are keeping up, at least. I use both Kindle software and Nook software/hardware and, honestly, Nook still looks like 2nd best e-reader device after Kindle (better than Sony or a myriad of cheap LCD readers).

    Anyway, unless Nook Color is amazing, I’ll probably hold off on upgrading my Nook. I think, tablets have a way to go before they become good propositions, although Notion Ink’s Adam might change my mind (like 3-pane software design).

  4. If $10 means much cheaper, I think you’re needed back at the fryer young man. I also think you forget about all the Anti-Apple people. I refuse to buy anything associated with Apple. But that’s for a whole other conversation.

  5. I haven’t paid all that much attention to e-readers in general as they seemed far too limited in the past. But something like this, if it’s hackable could have real potential (at a pretty low price point). Is there much home-brew work starting on these low-power Android devices?

  6. Stupid choice on their part in my opinion. Sorry, but the Kindle Wifi model at $139 is almost an impulse purchase right now. As a limited function (no Marketplace) book reader they need to be down there competing on price with Amazon. Period.

  7. @Glenn: Nook Color isn’t competing with Kindle. B&N will still be offering two regular, e-ink Nook (Wi-Fi and 3G, just like Kindle). Now, Nook IS $10 more expensive than Kindle ($149/$199 vs $139/$189), so B&N might want to drop the price. However, since it’s more advanced/more expensive to make, that may not be an option.

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