Nook color e-reader is coming, report says

A full-color, Google Android-based Nook e-reader is coming to Barnes & Noble soon, according to a new report.

A tipster has informed my CNET colleague David Carnoy that a full-color, Google Android-based Nook e-reader is coming to Barnes & Noble soon.

Carnoy reports that an anonymous but reliable source says the "Nook Color" will have a seven-inch display and retail for $249.

The idea? As Amazon "zigs" with its new, thinner, lighter, cheaper Kindle, B&N "zags" by going the color route and offering this model alongside its monochrome original, which will get a firmware update to zap those laggy performance issues.

The big question: does color matter? Remember, e-ink technology is easy on the eyes, but it doesn't mean you'll be watching high-definition video on your Nook Color, either -- you'll still need an iPad for that.

For science textbooks and other applications that have illustrations, color is a huge deal. Take a medical text for example -- using colors to differentiate muscle groups is major. And it goes without saying that the New York Times with color pictures helps convey the story much more effectively.

On the other hand, do enough customers buy that kind of content that it will warrant a separate, more expensive device? B&N clearly thinks so.

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