Barnes & Noble has released nook 1.3, the most important upgrade yet to the system software for its e-reader. It adds a web browser, two games, in-store sampling of books, and other new features.
The nook runs a heavily modified version of Google's Android OS, which B&N is finally using to add some promised features beyond ebook reading.
At the top of the list is a basic web browser that uses the device's Wi-Fi connection. Sites appear on the main E Ink screen, and navigation and text entry is done with the smaller color touchscreen. B&N recommends using it for accessing Web-based email.
nook 1.3 also includes two games, Chess and Sudoku, with different levels of difficulty.
In-Store Book Sampling
With this system software update, users will be able to pick for a selection of ebooks in the B&N catalog to read for free for up to an hour as long as they are in one of this company's retail locations.
A future update will allow nook users to read newspapers and magazines for up to 20 minutes per day as long as they are in a B&N store.
In addition, the e-reader has better support for connecting to Wi-Fi networks in hotels and airports.
Get the Update
For instructions on how to perform a manual update to nook 1.3, go to www.nook.com/update.
Devices that are connected to Wi-Fi will receive an automatic update at sometime next week.
An Overview of the Barnes & Noble Nook
B&N's e-book reader has a lot in common with the Amazon.com Kindle 2. It differentiates itself by allowing users to lend books and connect to Wi-Fi networks.
The device has a 6-inch, grayscale E Ink screen for displaying books, newspapers, and magazines, and below that is a smaller color touchscreen that is used to shop for items, as a keyboard, and to perform other actions.
Users are able to purchase and download e-books directly on the nook, either over a Wi-Fi connection or AT&T's 3G network. Those who want to access hotspots in B&N stores can do so for free.
The device has 2 GB of internal storage, which is room for about 1,500 books, and it includes a microSD card slot for additional capacity.
Source: Barnes & Noble
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