Barnes and Noble executives demoed the new Nook Color today after their big unveiling event, and it looks pretty cool.
The eReader has a 7-inch color LCD touch screen that is backlit and has a very nice looking resolution, from the 16 million colors that it uses. It is also nice and lightweight at under a pound, and has a quick and easy navigation interface. If you are reading a magazine, the photos look rich, and you can click onto the text of the article to have it come into a reading bar in the foreground. Then scroll to the next text piece, or click back to look at the photos.
Looking more like a tablet, but focused specifically on reading, the $249 eReader looks like it will be a hot item this holiday season, and it begins to ship on 11/19, just before Thanksgiving. B&N will be promoting it in their stores at their Nook boutiques, as well as through retail partners Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Books-A-Million will also sell the Nook Color, with B&N powering the Books-A-Million eBookstore.
Some drawbacks of the device are the short battery life, which is only 8 hours, and may not be worth packing on a 12 hour flight, especially if you are going somewhere where charging can be an issue. Also, the backlit screen on the iPad is hard to read in the sunlight. While B&N CEO William Lynch pointed out that it is designed to read in sunlight, the room that they unveiled everything in was dimly lit so as to show off the new color screens.
B&N was vague about formatting books and magazines for this new color experience, but they did say that they are working with publishers closely to get things formatted for the
The eReader does not support Flash, but it can play video within ePUB files. Jonathan Shar general manager, digital newsstand and emerging content, told us that the Nook Color will not include video at launch. He said the eReader would have regular updates, but he did not say when these updates would happen. Video is slated as one of them.
Another potential release would be an Android app store. Lynch said that there is no current plan for it, but that they work closely with Google, so it is possible.