Barnes & Noble's Nook Color is interesting a few levels, but the biggest question will revolve around the device's LCD screen. Is this thing a tablet or an e-reader?
Welcome to the intersection of tablets and e-readers (statement, Techmeme). E-readers typically have e-Ink, which is easier on the eyes for long reading sessions. Think Barnes & Noble's original Nook, Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader. The Nook Color, however, is a different animal at $249.
I looked at the device and instantly thought cheap tablet. Hewlett-Packard has one attached to a printer. And now Barnes & Noble is trying to thread the tablet-e-reader needle. The Nook Color could have a following because the Samsung Galaxy Tab will run you $499 for the Wi-Fi only version.
Among the key questions:
Will hardcore readers consider the Nook Color or pan it due to the LCD screen?
Is this device even for the hardcore readers? The fact Barnes & Noble launched a store for kids' books indicates that it's more about the illustrations than the text?
Will Barnes & Noble's Nook Color attract folks looking at tablets? The answer to that question will depend on the browser and apps available.
Does the Nook Color spark a response from e-reader rivals?
As it stands today, Barnes & Noble seems to be sure about the second question---the Nook Color is for kids. Barnes & Noble also launched a developer program for the Nook Color.
What's unclear is whether Barnes & Noble has thought through the impact of an LCD screen. The answer to that question may not matter, if the Nook Color brings in new customers that are looking for a pseudo tablet.
The risk for Barnes & Noble is that the Nook Color is a tweener device that no one is quite sure about.
Nevertheless, you have to give Barnes & Noble credit. It's rolling the dice with the Nook Color. It's nice to have three major e-reader players all trying new things.