Barnes & Noble Unveils Nook Color with 7-Inch LCD Display



Well, they did it. Barnes & Noble, as rumored, just outed the NOOKcolor. A 7-inch full LCD touchscreen touting, Android-based e-reader and then some. Streaming music, web browsing, games, and social networking on top of the whole book thing in a package weighing in at less than a pound and half an inch thick. Not quite a full tablet, by any stretch of the word, but still a full-color slate-style device offering a bit of an edge over your everyday e-reader.

The NOOKcolor features a VividView display capable of showing off more than 16 million colors at a resolution of 1024×600 and a pixel density of 169 pixels per inch. A special coating cuts back on glare and backlighting enables easy night and day reading. It comes with 8GB of on-board storage, but is microSD expandable up to 32GB. You get Wi-Fi connectivity, a microUSB port, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

The NOOKcolor is available right now for $249, learn all about it over at the B&N site.

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  1. Looks like Amazon successfully killed the Nook. People who would buy the Nook or Kindle for reading want it because it has e-ink, not because it’s small and can read books. If you’ve ever seen one, you know what I mean. LCD just can’t compare to e-ink, and if B&N stops producing the 1st gen Nook it’s over for sure.

    This might succeed as a tablet e-book reader meant to compete with the iPad, but as far as e-readers go it’s all Amazon now.

  2. Is this running android? Is it a capacitive screen? If so this may be a great MUCH cheaper alternative to the Galaxy tab.

  3. ^Agreed, Lucas. I want a color e-ink reader, because I like dedicated devices that do what their supposed to do.. WELL. I will NOT read for hours at a blinding LCD screen. I read from my EVO, and use Kindle. I like how I can turn the screen to all black with white text. Now if this can do that, then I may just get one for the added features. I want a dedicated device for ebooks.. tablets are another device category, to me.

  4. Lucas…you are either an idiot or you work for Amazon.

  5. @Lucas

    I think it was Apple that killed the Nook and e-ink technology. Unless Amazon comes up with a viable color alternative to LCD, I think e-ink will die which is sad.

  6. So the question is: Will it be able to install and run Android Apps ? If so it might be the best value in a tablet to date, and if the reading experience is good, it is on my Droid using the kindle app, well then…

  7. What edge does this offer over a normal e-reader? If you buy an e-reader, it is presumably to read things. E-ink is a far superior experience to LCD because of the lack of a backlight and higher contrast which does not strain the eyes, not to mention the efficiency of the battery. If you want a tablet PC, you get a crippled half-effort. This seems like it doesn’t do anything particularly well.

    I will pass on this and wait to see the results of the Mirasol or Liquavista displays, which replicate the eye relief and power efficiency effects of e-ink while allowing color and video.

  8. I agree with Lucas (#1) and Dell P (#3). The whole point to an e-book reader is the e-ink. I want to read in the sun. I want not see the sun glaring back at me. Completely not worth it.

  9. It all depends on how well the screen reads. It sounds like it’s not a backlit screen.. it’s reflective in the way that the old Gameboy Advance screens were. Those screens actually get MORE clear with direct light (especially sunlight). It still wont be as clear as e-ink…. but if it’s very close… this could be a pretty cool device.

  10. For reading novels, E-ink is far superior to any LCD screen. Go to Target and look at a Kindle or Sony reader. You will see what I mean.

  11. @Marvin You can assume it’s a backlit screen, it’s a current LCD, and there’s no way a company would be stupid enough to release any electronic without a backlight in 2010. Sure, you could play the old GBA in the sun, but guess what? You sure couldn’t play it inside comfortably without a lamp hovering over your head. It might be cool as a tablet, but as we’ve said, not as an e-reader.

  12. I’m sure this will be an option and they’ll still carry the e-ink Nook. Unless Amazon really does own the e-reader market; but if that were true, Sony would have gone down well before the Nook. And that little screen at the bottom is so much better than all the little buttons of the Kindle.

  13. This is an alternative people. The original Nook is still available.

  14. But you know whats funny? If Apple had created this, it would be considered “revolutionary” and people would be lining up around the block for it. Oh, and “magical” too. Revolutionary and magical.

  15. @Lucas eink is total crap. You can’t read it in the dark, you have to start a page flip when you read about half the page, and the contrast ratiois about that of an old phonebook.

  16. eink is what defines an ereader. This might be a good alternative for people not wanting to buy a separate ereader and tablet pcs but wanting most of the functionality of both, so this is what you get.

  17. @JBC. I totally agree. And Apple stock would go up and there would be 324323 articles about it and all the tv stations would be hailing it as the next best thing since sliced bread.

  18. i love sliced bread

  19. @ Steve — WHAT? The newer eInk screens as of this year have a much better contrast ratio than the prior versions and are adjustable to one’s liking.. AND unlike a LCD, you can actually read it in direct-sunlight — pretty much any lighting it’s better — and when reading at night, use an external “in-direct” light source, not a blinding-LCD back-lit screen. eInk is much nicer on the eyes all around for READING, this is not the case for any LCD.

  20. Has nobody here heard of Mirasol? THAT will be the eInk killer.

  21. An android tablet for $250?? Who cares if it has eink? You an carry your ebook reader with your palm zire and motorolla startac.

  22. @Lucas
    They Nook color is not designed to replace the B&W eInk version. It is out there to compete with the idiots that think the iPad is a eBook reader for the very reasons you said. Color LCD sucks for reading books. Otherwise i would read them on my laptop or cell phone

  23. Per the B&N website, “IPS display delivers an extra wide viewing angle of 178°,” So its the same technology as the Iphone 4 display. So if you think you can read your iphone 4 outside then maybe. But im thinking this is just another alternative to an iPad, not a revolutionary eReader.

  24. @wolverineguy55 If e-ink is dying then why has the new 3rd gen Kindle already sold more devices than they sold all holiday season last year. They are also blowing off the shelves in Best Buy and Staples. E-ink is far superior in readability for extended periods of time, that is why people love them so much. That said, this is still a very interesting product that is worth keeping tabs on.

  25. anyone who thinks an LCD can provide anywhere near the experience of e-ink obviously isn’t a reader. First of all, the battery life on this thing is going to be terrible. My Kindle gets about 2 and a half weeks. This will get 5 hours if you’re lucky. Second, your eyes will be killing you after reading this on a regular basis.

    The whole idea of LCD e-readers is retarded. People will buy it just to say they have one, but as far as an ereader goes, this is a fail. Than again, so is the iPad. I wouldn’t trade in my Kindle for either one.

  26. This isn’t really an Android tablet. You can’t run Android apps on it. B&N will decide what you can do with the device unless somewhat figures out how to hack it. So for the price, you don’t really get a tablet, you don’t get real color eINK, and you get very poor battery life. If you go on vacation with this, better make sure to bring your charger. At this price point, maybe people would be better off getting an Archos tablet that actually is a tablet and putting the Kindle and B&N apps on it. Oh, and pick up a Kindle for serious reading at the beach! My Kindle works great, I can read it anywhere, fast page turns, 3G worldwide, and days of battery life. I wish it were color eINK for reading magazines, newspapers, text books, and anything with a lot of pics but I’m sure that’s coming down the road.

  27. @wolverineguy55
    E-ink isn’t going to die. E-ink is just getting started! The Kindle is SOO much better for reading and textbooks than the iPad. Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is seriously amazing, but for other things. As soon as the touch color Kindles with higher refresh rates come out, we are seeing the future of eBook reader technology. LCD screens are great for most things though e-Ink screens are much better for reading. Think about this. E-Ink screens aren’t backlit and look a lot like paper. Imagine having digital e-Ink canvases hanging in your home than you can change with a simple click of a button. Now THAT will be cool!

  28. If it’s not e-ink, it’s not an e-reader – it’s a tablet. No thank you.

  29. @David C

    First, you can’t even tell me how many Kindles have been sold. The problem with Amazon is they don’t report sales. It is hard to say how many they have sold.

    The thing that helped sell Kindles more than anything was when they dropped the price to a more reasonable level which they had to do because of the iPad. Amazon couldn’t justify the price with the iPad not being much more expensive and able to do so many things. As as eReader the iPad is sub-par, but the Apple snake oil salespeople have many people convinced it is an eReader.

    I think the future of e-ink will depend on color. I really think this technology, Mirasol, and Pixel Qi are real good. I see them being useful beyond eReaders. Imagine a cell phone that can last for days because of lower power displays and one that you can actually read outside in the sun. However, the success of the iPad and the upcoming Android tablets coming out may put these technologies on the back burner. And this is what makes me sad.

  30. I blame Apple for this. They have everyone all riled up for the iPad as the all purpose tablet, so now everyone wants to do the same. I really hope that someone out there realizes that e-ink is a VERY valuable technology and produces a REAL next gen e-book reader!

  31. Pixel Qi is coming out in notionink and that founder guy is telling it gives 15 hours of backup

  32. I bought a nook in June, and Barnes and Noble sent me an email today with details of this new nookColor, because I really want to be reminded that my six-month-old device is already obsolete. However, that’s not my point. In the email, it says that you can turn the backlight on and off, which should help with readability, one would think.

  33. I’ve been looking at tablets for reading e-textbooks when I go to grad school. Its kind of hard to tell what the availability of e-textbooks. I already have a nook and it is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I don’t think this would replace how amazing the e-ink screen is. There’s no glare and its very easy on the eyes because it isn’t an LCD. On the other hand, you can’t read a science textbook in black and white. I wonder how good the web browser is for school sites (ie blackboard) to download the presentations, papers and assignments for classes. I’ll have to check it out in store to see if its right for me.

  34. Am I the only one who’s waiting to see this get a ROM swap so it will work as a $250 Android tablet? Hmmm… ;^)

    FWIW, I’ve been reading ebooks for over 15 years now on various devices, but I’ll never use a reader that doesn’t have backlighting. Yes, eInk has gotten a lot better in contrast lately, but requiring reasonable light levels is a deal breaker. I never sit outside in the bright sun attempting to read an ebook, opting instead for comfortable indoors reading in a favorite chair or bed. YMMV, but remember eInk fans, one solution does not fit all.

  35. I have been waiting for a color ebook reader ever since the kindle came out. But now that its out i think ill wait for the next version.

  36. A color eReader ISN’T an eReader if it has an LCD screen…it’s a low-end tablet. Something with a Mirasol display (a genuine successor to E-Ink with color capabilities) would be a color eReader.

    Just ’cause a device can read the filetype doesn’t mean it was mean’t to. LCD screens suck up battery like it’s going outta style and look awful in direct light, that’s the beauty of e-Ink and mirasol, they mimic paper and require little to no energy to display content.

    This is a neat device and I suppose a step forward, but I’m still looking out for whatever device debuts with color and e-ink combined.

  37. The NOOKcolor runs the Android OS v2.1, but you can’t access the Android Marketplace to download apps. You can only access apps that are designed for the NOOKcolor and B&N has authorized (and not till 2011). It has unique aspects like the screen resolution so it’s a modified OS. Also, I can get no information on the exact processor or display technology. Both the processor and display could be designed more for reading. For example, slow processor, slow updating display, low contrast, low glare. For these reasons, even if you did root it to run any Android app, it may not work well as a general purpose tablet. Also, it won’t be able to access the Android Marketplace.

  38. I bought the Nook1 a few weeks ago but gave it back the next day. USB didn’t work, it used too much battery and I had a display defect after only a couple of hours of use!

    Now I have a Kindle3 not the fulfilment of my dreams but it works!

    I’ll buy a color e-Ink reader next year, and a bigger one. 6″ is too small for them PDFs. :-/

  39. Guys my wife seen this tablet on the web for a second and right away it rocketed to the top of here Christmas list…

    this thing will sell!

    we geeks can geek as match as we like but if girl like girl will buy :)

  40. Kindle is still better. E-ink is a lot better for reading than LCD.

  41. The color e-ink display will be available next year and a race for BN and Kindle to be the first to offer it will commence. Personally, I’d put my money on an android-powered device any day.

  42. You know why the Nook beats the Kindle? Because the Kindle doesn’t support the format that the Los Angeles County Library System uses for their online lending and the Nook does.

  43. Stop crying and just carry a paper book with you. And it only costs a few bucks.

  44. First, I have a Nook and Im happy with it, and I agree that e-ink is easier on the eyes. That being said, hardcore readers are a very small % of the population. B&Ns own consumer research indicated that to MOST consumers reading on an LCD wasn’t as big of an issue as they had previously thought. Meaning that MOST consumers are willing to trade the downside of LCD for a color touchscreen. Look at how many iPads Apple is selling? Of course the stock Nook Color (cant wait to see what can be done with it once it is rooted/hacked) is something in between a tablet and a dedicated e-reader, but the point is B&N is looking to have a much larger customer base than just people who want dedicated e-ink e-readers, and since most consumers think LCD is fine for causal reading (and much better for stuff like internet, magazines, kids books, etc) I think B&N made a smart move, especially considering this is about half the price of a tablet right now.

    Also, as numerous others have mentioned already B&N has said nothing about discontinuing the current “classic” e-ink Nook, so there is still an option for those who hate the LCD, so they still have something to compete with Amazon. But lets face it, the black and white e-ink based dedicated readers days are numbered. Personally I think dropping the price for the wi-fi only Nook down to $99 would be another great move.

  45. I’m in high school, and today we had a discussion in English class about this. From a teenage standpoint, this device is perfect: makes assigned reading easier, social networking, etc. And, I’m a Android junkie ;)

  46. Hopefully B&N does not plan on replacing the original Nook with this new color one. Yes, the device seems very cool, but with that LCD screen it is just a stripped down laptop. I do not want to read my books on a laptop. I love my Nook, I use it everyday, I can use it for hours at a time and not get tired reading like I would if I was using a computer screen. For a book reading device I will be sticking with the original Nook.

  47. E-ink die? I sure hope not. Color LCD is utterly useless for actually, you know, reading. It’s fine for web sites and such, but for anything of substance a back-lit display is a headache inducing nightmare. Ever wonder why most people print stuff to read? That’s why. Reading on an active display is miserable.

    As far as I’m concerned, if e-ink dies, e-readers die with it. I’ve got no use for a giant smartphone “tablet.”

  48. At the resolution, which is the same resolution as my 7″ netbook, you can read manga, because its got portrait display, and if I could convince my netbook to display portrait, I could read manga on my netbook. As it is, there’s only one online manga reader that works, because it has a “next panel” mode as well as a “next page” mode … but mostly all its got is yaoi, so the manga reader that works lets me read manga I don’t want to read.

    And its a fine resolution for watching anime at Hulu or Crunchyroll.

    In reality, this is a jump-start device. It gets B&N a jump start on Android 3.x and it gets B&N a jump start on Mirasol/etc. low power color displays, once they work out a truly clear front touchscreen or a truly finger-touch back touchscreen. Since neither of those are available for Christmas 2010, and both of those will be available for Christmas 2011, this is a stalking horse for the Color-Nook2 at this price point, at which point the Color-Nook1 will get a massive price slash to bring it down the to B&W-Kindle price point.

  49. pretty slick machine for someone who wants more than a reader. once you figure out which mp4 to convert to – it plays movies great.

  50. It seems people keep arguing whether it is a tablet or an e-reader with flash…it doesn’t really matter. The color is kinda in competition with the ipad and last I checked Nook gen. 1 is still available. So stop harassing each other over a difference of opinion. The point of the thread to compare the new nookColor with other alternatives, not a pissing contest. Obviously if someone wants to be able to have all the iPad function with a lower cost will pick the Color. Or if they just want a read with internet access they’ll get the nook, or maybe they are fine with normal book access and will get the kindle. And to use the the superlatives “completely worthless” to describe LCD is ones personal opinion. I for one don’t m,ind LCD for reading. When writing a review you can give you personal experience but you’re supposed to do so objectively, sounds contradictory but it works. If you dislike a product don’t buy it, why hyperbolize your emotions just to prevent someone else from using a product. Do you hate the company/product that much? Do we really have to turn it into a playground lynching just to be proving right?

  51. I’m using a nook color to type this right now. It doesn’t suck, and the battery lasts me 10 hours with the backlight turned down halfway. It may be a responce to the ipad, but it’s a pretty good one at that. Maybe some of you should actually try it out with an unbiased and open mind instead of going with the typical “it sucks cause it’s different” rant. Yeah, eink needs to replace the lcd screen, but until people stop thinking apple is innovative and start realising Steve Jobs knows exactly how to get them to buy his crap, it probably won’t happen. Sorry if that offends you Lucas, but saying something just for the sake of being different doesn’t make you sound intelligent. Try to be open minded.

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