Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

Summary: Barnes & Noble on Tuesday unveiled the first major color e-book reader, its Nook Color.

TOPICS: Mobility

Barnes & Noble on Tuesday unveiled the first major color e-book reader, its Nook Color.

In contrast to Amazon's strategy for its popular Kindle e-reader, in which it went thinner, lighter and cheaper, B&N instead sought the value-add with LCD technology. It remains to be seen whether readers will go for an LCD screen over e-Ink.

With a 7-inch, 16 million-color touchscreen IPS display, the Nook Color is targeting magazine and newspaper readers, as well as parents, making specific mention of children's books. The display -- which is viewable at angles as steep as 178 degrees -- offers 1024 by 600-pixel resolution at 169 pixels per inch.

The device has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as a "LendMe" function to share content with friends. It has 8 gigabytes of storage (approximately 6,000 e-books, the company says), with a microSD memory slot that's expandable to 32GB.

It's 0.48 inches thick and weighs just under 16 ounces. It's approximately 8 in. tall and 5 in. wide.

It offers six sizes of text, as well as an audio player for MP3 and AAC files. (It also supports MP4 video, and has a built-in mono speaker, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack.)

The reader supports EPUB, PDF, XLS, DOC, PPT, PPS, TXT, DOCM, XLSM, PPTM, PPSX, PPSM, DOCX, XLX and PPTX files for reading. (Please note that it does not support Amazon's LIT or AMZ file formats nor Sony's LRZ or LRX formats.)

Barnes & Noble says the Nook Color lasts eight hours between recharges, which takes about three hours. It will retail for $249.

What do you think: Kindle, Nook Color or iPad? Leave your thoughts in TalkBack.

Editor's note: The original version of this post said the Nook Color used e-Ink technology. That is incorrect; it uses an LCD display. I regret the error.

Topic: Mobility

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

    Wow looks amazing!
  • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

    Could be a winner for B&N in certain market segments, e.g., families with children, students, magazine readers, etc. This device seems very much like the Pandigital Novel, with better screen resolution and a few other differences; the specs are very similar, so much so that one wonders if Pandigital is involved in the NookColor's design and/or production. Well, best of luck to B&N. They may do quite well with this device in the upcoming holiday season.
  • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

    Let's hope Google allow tablets like these Android Market access when Gingerbread/Honeycomb comes out.
  • e-Ink or LCD (NT)?

    x I'm tc
    • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249


      This is from their website.
      "Our spectacular 7-inch VividView? Color Touchscreen makes reading more engaging than ever. The backlit screen makes it easy to read day or night. Displaying more than 16 million colors in unsurpassed high-resolution, NOOKcolor delivers incredibly rich images and clear, crisp text, making your reading come to life in ways you've never experienced before."

      Color, touchscreen and backlight don't sound like e-ink. I could be wrong but it doesn't sound like it.
    • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

      @jdakula It's LCD. The story has been corrected. Thanks!
      David Grober
    • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249


      With them using LCD it means the battery life takes a significant hit. It will be 8 hours instead of 10 - 14 days with e-Ink.
  • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

    When I first saw the ad, I thought Great the color eInk display we have been waiting for. Nope, a dedicated ebook lcd screen. For some time there have been people saying that they do not need a dedicated ebook reader when they have a smart phone and the free application. Now that B&N gives a dedicated color 7" screen, why would people with the latest large smart phone pay another $249 for something the same size for a dedicated ebook reader. Are not the magazine subscriptions available on the smart phone?

    I have no doubt that B&N will sell a lot of these Color Nooks, with a society that MUST buy those new shiny toys, how could they resist. :)
  • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

    LCD screen = mini iPad. I want my e-ink dedicated reader that gets out of the way of whatever I am reading and -- here's the biggie -- doesn't cause massive eyestrain that backlighting does. The color Nook, like the iPad, is only good if I don't want to use it for reading.

    However, I'm sure there are people out there who won't mind and who don't have a problem reading LCD monitors yet.
    • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

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  • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

    I have an iPad and a Kindle DX. I love reading on the Kindle. I love the iPad, but it's too heavy and bright to read for hours and hours. I can't read for long periods of time on a backlite LCD screen. Nook Color sounds cool, but I like e-ink and 3 weeks of battery life.
  • RE: Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color for $249

    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.