Barnes & Noble Burns Amazon's Kindle 2 With New nook
by, October 20th, 2009 at 11:52 PM
Barnes & Noble is officially re-entering the eBook market, with a new device. The new device, called the nook, is set to compete with Amazon's Kindle 2, and both devices should hit the market soon. So what sets the two apart?
Amazon's Kindle has quickly become the de-facto leader in the eBook market in the last few years, and the Kindle 2 looks to improve upon that success. But Barnes & Noble hopes to become the dominant player by providing more and better content, and by competing in the device market with the new nook.
So how will the nook compare to the Kindle 2? The nook features the same 6" E Ink display as the Kindle, and the same amount of storage. But unlike the Kindle 2, the nook supports memory expansion via adding a Micro SD card up to 16 GB. Both have wireless connectivity, although with different carriers; the nook works on AT&T while the Kindle 2 works on Sprint's network. But the nook also has built in Wi-Fi capability.
The nook's product page also touts the operating system as it runs on the much-hyped Google Android. As we mentioned recently, this is something that most people really won't care that much about. For the vast majority, the user experience is far more important than the code that makes it go.
But fortunately, it looks like the nook will deliver on user experience too. Part of this will come from Barnes & Nobles' store, which will feature more books, and supposedly at lower prices, not to mention over 500,000 titles for free. But the nook will also read PDF files and support more eBook formats than the Kindle 2.
While the Kindle will not allow you to share your purchased content at all, the nook follows the time-honored tradition of allowing you to lend your books to friends with their new LendMe technology. And you can share not only with other nooks, but also with iPhones and iPod touch, BlackBerry, and both PC and Mac computers. The nook also allows bookmarking, highlighting, and note-taking, and will retain your notes.
And before I forget, the nook also includes a touchscreen that allows for browsing books by cover, and also doubles as a virtual keyboard. While some still prefer the finger-crampingly small physical keyboards, the success of the iPhone has shown that a well-designed virtual keyboard can work quite well for mobile devices.
The nook will also have the advantage of being sold in physical stores, and you should be able to walk into any Barnes & Noble and try it out. While the success of the Kindle has shown that this isn't absolutely necessary, I know that I feel much more comfortable spending my money on something I can try out first.
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