Barnes and Noble just announced a new Nook touch screen. They call this Nook, "The Simple eReader," The concept being that this is for those folks that are technologically challenged, but still want an eReader. The new Nook will be available on June 10th and will be priced at $139.
This Nook offers some impressive new features that, I believe, will be in all future Nooks. Let's run through some of these.
First, they've widened the screen to a full 6 inches. I've always thought the original Nook width was nice looking, but should be wider. The extra width gives you the feel of an actual book width page.
Second, the new Nook uses the new Pearl eInk display. This has higher resolution, sharper contrast, and uses less power than the previous eInk. It can be seen in bright sunlight. This is the same Pearl eInk you find on the latest Kindle.
We're talking black and white here, no color folks, yet. More on this in another article.
Third, an extended battery life of over two months, that's right, months, on one charge. The extended battery life was a bonus from widening the Nook and switching to the new Pearl eInk with lower power consumption. The wider width allowed a larger surface area for the flat battery.
Fourth, the new, wow, technology on this Nook is a vastly improved, responsive, infra-red touch screen. The color bottom screen of the old Nook goes away, and now the entire screen is touch. The technology is called Neonode zForce infra-red touch. That mumbo jumbo means there are, invisible-to-the-eye, infra-red, beams cris-crossing the entire screen, if your finger goes anywhere near the screen it will pick it up, and know where your finger is, it's screen location, and the direction your moving your finger. I did say sensitive. The new touch technology is low power, and I expect it to be on all future Nooks.
There are still buttons on the side to flip the page, but now these buttons are secondary to flipping the pages with your finger. The side buttons have an added feature to allow you to skim through your pages quickly.
The new Nook and Kindle are pretty similar. The difference being the overall shape and the Nook's touch screen. Other reviewers believe the two devices are fairly even with a slight nod to the Nook.
Amazon, the creator of the Kindle, is expected to go in the color LCD direction with 3G to take on Apple's iPad, and are expecting to release a new Kindle in the next couple of months. Remember the color LCD is not sunlight friendly. If Amazon focuses on the iPad to the exclusion of its loyal eReaders, the eReader market may be taken over by Barnes and Nobles.
Amazon has tried to carve a proprietary niche in the eReader market by limiting its eReader format to books bought from Amazon. We all know that this is no longer a concern, thanks to the Calibre program I wrote about in a previous post. If you have not seen this post, and you own an eReader, I recommend you look it over.
What I like about the Nook is the wider width, thinner depth, and lighter weight, it weighs under 8 ounces. It makes for a much more pleasant book like reading experience. To me this new Nook is slightly better that the Kindle, because of the touch screen. The Kindle still uses a physical keyboard, while the Nook's keyboard is part of the touch screen.
The price of the new Nook, $139, is the same as previous Nooks, although I believe that Barnes and Nobles will see some pressure to lower their price. The Kindle is currently priced at $114 with special offers.
What we're all waiting for is a color eReader that can be viewed in direct sunlight and will rival the color depth and resolution of the current LCD displays, I'll address that in my next article.