The rumours were correct Barnes and Noble just unveiled the NookColor, a 7′ 1024×600 coloured LCD touchscreen, Wifi (no 3G)… I won’t go into the full specs, there’s plenty of websites that have that covered.
So how successful will it be? only time will tell, but with the addition of their Nook Kids platform, which is due to have titles available in the next couple of weeks, a colored touchscreen Nook was essential. While there are numerous interactive childrens books available for the Apple AppStore with new ones appearing daily, parents are unlikely to handover their expensive iPads or iPhones to their kids for long, although an iPod Touch isn’t so heart stopping, so makes a popular alternative. It fits in the pocket, can be stuffed full of children’s music, films, TV shows and of course books, so great for long car journeys or days out.
With Amazon sticking to their mantra of, legibility and highest possible quality screen technology first and foremost, LCD is not an option, e-ink only for Kindles, no touchscreen layer either, plus 3G and 1 month battery (although I find mine lasts 16-17 days max).
So B&N are stepping into new territory, with a device that is a cross between an eReader and an iPad (and lets face it, everyone is going to make that comparison even if it is unfair). Could the NookColor fall into the same trap that the NetBook has, that middle ground where it’s useful, but it doesn’t excel at anything. It won’t have a battery life that is anywhere near a Kindle, it’s screen will be very difficult to read in bright sunlight and it doesn’t have 3G, so as an eReader it falls short of it’s main rival.
Then there’s the iPad, it won’t have anywhere near the same level of functionality, or the plethora of Apps, it does have a web browser, but it too won’t support flash, which would have been a major plus if it did. I know it’s unfair to compare it to the iPad, after all it’s half the size and half the price, but that’s what consumers and the market will do.
So the nookcolor to me is in a bit of a no mans land, although there’s nothing wrong with that, if they etch out a big enough niche that leads the way and shows other eReader manufacturers that there’s a demand for this type of device, then maybe it will excel, but it has a tough job on it’s hand… but who knows, maybe it will become the hardware of choice for Android hacks!
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