The Barnes & Noble Nook ereader gets some cool features added with their latest 1.3 software update. In addition to a reported performance increase and faster page turns, Barnes & Noble is now offering a Read In Store feature which allows users to read complete ebooks while inside a Barnes & Noble store.
The new update also let’s you challenge your Nook to a Chess match with 3 levels of difficulty, and Sudoku with four levels of difficulty.
There’s been also a considerable update to the web interface. Updated Wi-Fi aids in easier login to Wi-Fi hotspots. You can also browse the web with the built-in Web Browser (beta). The Nook’s color touchscreen can be used to navigate; use the virtual keyboard to type in the URLs you want to visit.
The home screen now includes these new features, as well as direct access to Audio. The Barnes & Noble Nook is based on the Android operating system, which has been exploding in the smartphone market and will undoubtedly make a big splash in the Tablet PC market as well.
Check out the Barnes & Noble Nook Support page for upgrade instructions.
It’s hard to browse the Internet, pick up a magazine, or watch the evening news without seeing some mention of the invasion of tablet PCs recently. With news of a Google tablet, offerings from Microsoft and Hewlett Packard (HP slate), and hints from Toshiba, consumers will have no shortage of options for tablets.
As competition rises, tablets are promising to do more and more. You can browse the web, watch movies, read books, play games; all on this small, thin touchscreen device and you can do it from anywhere you can imagine. For eBook and eReader enthusiasts, our eReaders will have many of the same capabilities that our laptop and desktop computers have.
But are tablets offering too much? Are we getting too distracted by the ability to do more things? One thing I kinda liked about the Amazon Kindle was that I didn’t have fast and easy access to games or the Internet. So, when I was on the Kindle reader, I did just that: read. I’ve never been great at reading on a computer because I had the option to do other things.
Tablets don’t really offer anything new, aside from the user interface and experience. Instead of pressing a button or clicking a mouse, you’re actually touching the content. You end up feeling closer to the content and to the device itself. So much so that your computer and your smartphone might start to feel as neglected as your children.
Another thing to consider when looking at the new tablets is the type of screen. It wasn’t long ago when the E Ink technology used by the Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook was the hot new thing. While it lacks color and a backlight, it can be read easily in sunlight and it extends the battery life exponentially. Now vivid touchscreens are the trend, but if the main purpose is to use it as an ereader you lose the feel and appeal of a book-like screen. But, like most consumers, I have a hard time being wowed by a dull grayscale screen when compared to a bright, flashy touchscreen. Does this hint at the death of E Ink technology? Will Amazon bail on E Ink and go with a more modern color touchscreen for the Kindle 3?
Tablet PCs may soon take over the eReader market. Especially since the tablet manufacturers are able to keep the prices so close to the price of the available ereaders. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Kindle and Nook swing back against the iPad, the Google Tablet, and other “Ipad Killers”.
Amazon has had to face the music with the competition coming from Apple’s iPad. The Wallstreet Journal reports that Amazon has given in to the pressure from some book publishers to price their books outside of the $9.99 price point that Amazon has been fighting for. Now, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Macmillan will have more control over the pricing of their ebooks through the Kindle store.
Thanks to an “agency pricing model”, most new best sellers will be going for $12.99 and $14.99. There will still be some books available for $9.99 (and maybe even lower); but as we all know, the books we want to read will all be the pricier ones.
It seems to me that competition should be lowering prices, not raising them. One of the big benefits of forking out the cash for a Kindle was that you’d have access to cheaper reading material than buying a physical copy. I have made some impulse purchases on the Kindle just because I knew the cost was $10 or less. I’ve purchased books from new authors and new genres just because I considered it a bargain price. Sure, it’s only an extra 3 to 5 bucks, but now I will be more likely to double- or triple- think the purchase.
I’m sure this is a decision that Amazon has been strong-armed into by the greedy book-publishing powers that be; having Kindle ebooks priced lower than the competition would definitely be their preference, but by refusing to align with the agency pricing model they would be missing a lot of content that is available on the Nook, iPad, etc.