Barnes & Noble's Nook: A dash of color, kid focus puts it back in e-reader game

Barnes & Noble's Nook: A dash of color, kid focus puts it back in e-reader game

Summary: Barnes & Noble's color Nook and focus on children's books is a nice strategic move in the e-reader race.

TOPICS: Hardware

It's fascinating how the big three e-reader players---Amazon, Sony and Barnes & Noble---are putting their own unique spin on the race.

Barnes & Noble appears to be set to launch its next-generation Nook, which according to Crave will be a $250 Android device with a color touchscreen. This Nook Color goes places that other e-readers haven't. Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Readers have black and white screens. Amazon has gone for fast page turns and store integration. Sony went for the touch screen hook and has global plans.

Now it's Barnes & Noble's turn to spin the e-reader needle. The Wall Street Journal reports that Barnes & Noble is going for the next-generation of readers. Barnes & Noble has run off and cut deal with a bevy of publishers of children's books. Think Dr. Seuss meets a color e-reader.

The collection of e-books for kids looks impressive at Nook Kids. And if the interface works well, Barnes & Noble can court parents, who happen to frequent the bookstores anyway.

It's unclear how the color Nook will do, but chances are good that it will do pretty well. Meanwhile, focusing on kids is a nice differentiating move. The e-reader players continue to surprise with their various twists on a commodity device.

A look the various e-reader strategies:

Topic: Hardware

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  • RE: Barnes & Noble's Nook: A dash of color, kid focus puts it back in e-reader game

    Fantastic idea. I hope it will expand the use of children's books and help families to read together more frequently!

    Read Aloud Dad
    Read Aloud Dad
  • eInk

    I assume this means they're going away from eInk?
    • Dunno

      @dunraven Dunno, hopefully we'll find out soon.

      Color e-ink is still very experimental, but possible.

      The biggest issue is contrast - e-ink "cells" can only switch between two colors, and it uses subtractive coloring (it absorbs light rather than creating light), so making something high contrast and colored is difficult.

      So it's unlikely that the first gen devices will have much contrast, but I think it will improve over time.
  • RE: Barnes & Noble's Nook: A dash of color, kid focus puts it back in e-reader game

    Is the color touchscreen ala iPad? If it loses the crisp, easy reading e-ink display it won't have nearly the same appeal. I bought mine because of how easy it is on the eyes.
  • E-ink or other tech?

    Are they moving to LCD (or LED) to get the color, or are they experimenting with new E-ink technology?
  • RE: Barnes & Noble's Nook: A dash of color, kid focus puts it back in e-rea

    Maybe it's using the Pixelqi screen. It's LED and color, but with lower power usage, though still not as good as eInk.
  • Should be Interesting, but...

    I would love to see a color e-ink reader - but that is doubtful. It will most likely be a LCD display - with the limitations that go with it (e.g. iPad/Laptop). No more reading outside or in bright light - I will stick with my boring B/W Kindle for now.
  • According to everythingI've read so far . . .

    One of the points they're trying to sell this on, is, according to their announcements is the kids books are or will be interactive.

    Now what that means beyond touch the page to turn it remains to be seen, but I would assume (at first at least) that when a child touches the screen, the picture actually does something (move, dance, whatever).
  • RE: Barnes & Noble's Nook: A dash of color, kid focus puts it back in e-reader game

    Nook Color is better for reading than iPad and better for everything else than Kindle. Nook Color is better for $249. Nook Color screen is supposed to be better (less reflective) for reading than iPad thanks to new LG screen with anti-reflection coating. It allows to watch videos, listen to the music, view Office documents and PDF's. The Nook Color will not run apps straight out of the Android Market, but that does not mean it cannot run them. In fact, they have done a lot of tests on apps from standard Android smartphones and they pretty much run on Nook Color, which has Android 2.1 under the hood. (The Nook native interface and apps are just standard Android application layers.) Barnes & Noble special Nook SDK runs on top of the standard Android one and gives developers access to exclusive extensions and APIs for the Nook and its interface. So porting Android apps is not difficult. B&N says it is more like optimising them for Nook than porting them. If you prefer e-Ink screen, the original Nook is still available from BN.