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Barnes & Noble Nook dual-screen reader officially announced... for real

Nilay Patel
10.20.09
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Barnes and Noble's Nook ebook reader might have made an unexpected debut a little earlier than planned today, but it's all official now. The Nook has a six-inch 16-level E-ink screen with a color touchscreen underneath for navigation and settings, and -- it's running Android! You can lend a book to a friend, and there's wireless on AT&T's 3G network as well as WiFi -- everything we saw earlier today. Pre-sales are live now at $259, and it'll be shipping in November. All B&N stores will soon be getting a big crazy display unit that showcases the device and a number of cases from all sorts of designers. And what's more, Nook owners can connect to B&N WiFi and browse complete ebooks in-store for free -- just like a real book. That's pretty great.

Update: Malcom Gladwell is on stage, talking about syphilis in Baltimore. People are clapping -- it's a little odd. But the first Nook buyers will get a free copy of The Tipping Point, so that's nice.

Update 2: "Ladies and gentlemen, the bar is now open." That's all for now -- we've got a Q&A session coming up, we'll let you know what we find out after the break.

Update 3: Barnes & Noble just pinged us to say that they were wrong during the event -- the Nook's WiFi will work anywhere, not just in-store.


Notes from the Q&A:

  • They like Android, but they're not doing open app development -- they just like the optimizations for the small screen. It sounded like apps are a possibility, through.
  • There's no browser, they think E-ink browsing is clunky.
  • The Nook has 2GB of built-in storage, but there's an SD slot as well.
  • The WiFi will only work in Barnes & Noble stores at launch.
  • The in-store book browsing doesn't download books, it "streams" them. Uh, sure -- we'll see about that.
  • The screen is capacitive touch -- "just like the iPhone."
  • They're looking at an actual Android app for the future, no commitments made.
  • Nook will mount as mass storage over USB.
  • Only some books can be lended, and they'll be branded with a LendMe logo on the ebook store. It's up to the publishers, but B&N says they're working to enable as many as they can.
  • They plan to support Windows Mobile in the future.


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