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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Look Out Kindle - Nook Has Landed

The new Barnes & Noble e-book reader, known as Nook, may prove to be more of a headache for Amazon's Kindle than the Sony Reader has been. Nook offers some important features that users of the Amazon and Sony readers can only dream about: sharing of e-books and the first inkling of a color screen. According to Computer World, the color screen is limited to search results that come via Nook's "virtual keyboard," but that is a good start and it is certain to gain the Nook a second glance from anyone shopping for an e-book reader. Most important, however, is that Barnes & Noble e-books can be loaned to friends who have either a Nook of their own or access to the free download that B&N offers to computer users and those who own certain smart phones.
Nook weighs 11.2 ounces and is 7.7 x 4.9 x .5 inches in size. The upper electronic paper display, with 16 levels of gray scale, is 6 inches diagonally, while the lower color LCD display is 3.5 inches.

A first in e-readers will be the ability for users to lend their e-books for up to 14 days at a time. With LendMe technology, an e-book can be shared to a friend's Nook, iPhone, iPod touch, and some BlackBerry and Motorola smartphones, possibly the upcoming Cliq, which is based on Android. Desktop and laptop PCs with Barnes & Noble eReader software can also receive the books being lent.

Users can also listen to songs uploaded through a computer to the Nook, as well as audiobooks and podcasts, using standard headphones.
OK, Amazon. The ball is back in your court now. The Nook is priced at $259, same as the Kindle, so here's hoping that Amazon and B&N start a little price war of their own. Come on, guys, it's all about market share at this point...start slicing away.
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