Barnes & Noble has just taken the wraps off the Nook, an e-book reader that will be a direct competitor to Amazon.com’s Kindle. It will differentiate itself by allowing users to lend books and connect to Wi-Fi networks.
The Nook will have 6-inch, grayscale E-Ink screen for displaying the contents of books, newspapers, and magazines, and below that will be a smaller color touchscreen that will be used as a keyboard and to perform other actions.
Users will be able to purchase and download e-books directly on this device, either over a Wi-Fi connection or over AT&T’s 3G network. Those who want to access hotspots in B&N stores will be able to do so for free.
It will have 2 GB of internal storage — that’s room for about 1,500 books — plus it will have a microSD card slot for additional capacity.
The most unusual feature of the Nook will be the ability to “lend” books; users will be able to loan a text to one of their friends for up to 14 days for no charge.
These e-books will be in either the open ePub standard or Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format, and users will be able to move files onto this reader — they don’t have to come from B&N.
Physically, the Nook is going to be 7.7 inches by 4.9 inches by 0.5 inches (196 mm by 126 mm by 13 mm). It will weigh 11.2 ounces (317 g).
Pricing & Availability
Barnes & Noble will put the Nook up for pre-sales at 5:30 pm EDT, but the device won’t be delivered until late November.
Naturally, it will be available in B&N’s 1,300 stores, giving it an advantage over Amazon.com’s device, which is only available online.
Nook vs. Kindle
The Nook and the Kindle 2 will have 6-inch E-Ink displays. Amazon’s offering has a hardware keyboard, while B&N’s device will have a second touchscreen.
Both will include 2 GB of internal storage, but the Kindle 2 lacks an additional memory card slot.
They are close in size; the Amazon model is thinner but a bit larger in the other dimensions: 8.0 inches by 5.3 inches by 0.4 inches. It also weighs slightly less: 10.2 ounces.
B&N admits the Kindle will have a better battery life than the Nook.