It seems Barnes and Noble gave everyone a bit of a surprise today. It was expected that the bookseller would be launching a 3G version of its wildly popular NOOK e-reader (or maybe even a 3G NOOKcolor), but instead, B&N went straight for the competition's throat, launching the 6-inch e-ink display sporting, Android-powered (albeit Android 2.1) NOOK Simple Touch Reader. And all for the low, low cost of $140 - a price suspiciously reminiscent of a certain other e-book reader.
Look mom, no buttons!
Anyway, as I said, the screen is e-ink - so you're only getting black and white. But you're also getting absolutely ridiculous battery life: B&N claims 2 months on a single charge with Wi-Fi turned off. Seems like Amazon's Kindle might finally have some legit competition. As far as improvements over the NOOK originale are concerned, they're numerous. It's lighter, thinner, faster, has 50% better display contrast, an IR touch screen, hugely improved battery life, more internal storage (2GB), and much-improved page-flipping animations. Nifty.
The new NOOK weighs in at a svelte 7.48 ounces (less than half a pound), and is a mere .47 inches thick. You can pre-order the new NOOK starting today from B&N's website for $140 (shipping is free), and B&N estimates the device will ship starting June 10. Additionally, you'll be able to find it at retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and Staples next month as well. There has been no word on whether B&N has a 3G version in the works. See the full press release, below:
Barnes & Noble Introduces The All-New NOOK™, The Simple Touch Reader™
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, today expanded its bestselling digital reading offering with the All-New NOOK, The Simple Touch Reader. With a full touchscreen, NOOK™ features record-setting, extra-long battery life on the easiest-to-use, ultra-light, portable 6-inch eReader with the most-advanced E Ink Pearl display, and the world’s largest bookstore available by Wi-Fi®. Now available for pre-order at www.nook.com and at Barnes & Noble stores for just $139, NOOK will begin shipping on or about June 10. Barnes & Noble adds the All-New NOOK, a significant leap forward in the dedicated eReader category, to a product line that includes the bestselling NOOK Color™, the only Reader’s Tablet™. Based on the success of the NOOK product line, combined with focus on the absolute best reading experience, Barnes & Noble now claims more than 25 percent of the digital book market - just 18 months after launching NOOK 1st Edition™.
Barnes & Noble has always recognized the simplicity and ease that the element of touch brings to its NOOK product line, and the All-New NOOK is no exception. With a simple tap to the 6-inch touchscreen, it’s intuitive and easy to navigate, shop and read. Customers can look up words, highlight passages, adjust the font size and style or search by typing on the responsive on-screen keyboard that appears only when a customer needs it. The paper-like E Ink display features crisp, clear text that’s great for reading anywhere, even in bright sunlight. The no-glare display offers 50 percent more contrast than NOOK 1st Edition.
At only 7.48 ounces (212 grams), the artfully designed All-New NOOK is lightweight and thin - 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than NOOK Wi-Fi 1st Edition™. Lighter than a paperback, NOOK’s sleek but durable, compact design (6.5 inches high by 5 inches wide by 0.47 inches deep) makes it easy to fit in a jacket, pocket, purse or backpack, holding up to 1,000 digital books and more personal content using the expandable memory slot. Its ergonomic, contoured design with a soft-touch back makes it easy and comfortable to read, even with just one hand, and for extended periods of time. And thanks to best-in-class battery life, read for up to 2 months on a single charge with Wi-Fi off - that’s twice as long as the other leading eReader available.
Barnes & Noble’s use of the latest-generation E Ink screen and proprietary technology offers unmatched performance on the All-New NOOK, delivering a seamless and immersive reading experience. NOOK offers 80 percent less flashing than other eReaders - whether turning pages, browsing for books or scrolling through your library. Page turns are lightning fast, using the touchscreen or well-placed side buttons, and with the new Fast Page™ feature, just press and hold a side button to quickly scan through content and skip right to the desired section.
"We set out to design the easiest-to-use, most optimized, dedicated reading device ever created and accomplished it with the All-New NOOK," said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. "Touch makes it simple to use, and the beautifully compact design makes it the most portable eReader in its class. Add to that an unmatched battery life, the most advanced paper-like touch display on the market and wireless access to the world’s largest digital bookstore, and we believe that for readers of all ages, the All-New NOOK is the best eReader on the market, and a great value at $139."
The World’s Largest Bookstore in Your Pocket
With the All-New NOOK, customers can enjoy a wide variety of digital content, all at their fingertips. Shop for everything from new releases and current bestsellers to classics and more, all in a single search. The NOOK Bookstore™ offers one of the most expansive digital catalogs of more than two million books, magazines and newspapers. Enjoy helpful recommendations from Barnes & Noble’s experts, personalized based on customers’ favored authors and genres, to decide what to read next. Have more than 80 popular national and local market newspapers and magazines from the NOOK Newsstand™ automatically delivered to NOOK the moment they’re released, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA TODAY, as well as Forbes, Reader’s Digest, Discover, Fast Company and New York magazine. All periodicals are available for subscription with a 14-day free trial or via single copies.
Most NOOK Books™ are $9.99 or less, including most of The New York Times Bestsellers, plus there’s over a million free classics. Enjoy more than 100,000 titles from independent publishers and self-publishing authors using Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!™ digital publishing platform. Young readers will find more than 12,000 NOOK Kids™ chapter books in Barnes & Noble’s world’s largest collection of digital children’s content. Sample NOOK Book titles for free and download all content wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection in just seconds.
When customers visit Barnes & Noble stores with their All-New NOOK, the shopping and reading experience gets even better. Connect to free and fast Wi-Fi and browse complete NOOK Books for free through the company’s innovative Read In Store™ program and get exclusive content and special promotions through the More In Store™ program. NOOK customers receive access at more than 24,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as other personal and public hotspots to browse, buy and download new content wirelessly.
Get Social with NOOK Friends
Another way NOOK customers can learn more about great books is through NOOK Friends, an exciting social experience previously available only to NOOK Color customers. From the home page, customers can see book recommendations from friends. See what your friends have posted about their current read, swap recommendations, share reading status, favorite quotes, and much more. Through Twitter® and Facebook® integrations, right from their current book, customers can tweet the title they’re reading, post on their Facebook wall and see what their NOOK Friends "like" on Facebook. With Barnes & Noble’s exclusive LendMe® technology, you can also lend eligible books to your friends at no cost for 14 days, and see and request to borrow friends’ LendMe books.
And coming in the next few weeks, Barnes & Noble will offer a new custom website, mynook.com, where customers can get recommendations from Barnes & Noble expert booksellers and NOOK Friends, access their NOOK Library™, and manage their device.
Read Your Way
Customers can customize their All-New NOOK and reading experience to their liking. Choose from 7 font sizes and 6 font styles. NOOK owners can personalize their device with one of Barnes & Noble’s screen savers or transfer personal photos (JPG, PNG, BMP and GIF) to make NOOK their own, and choose from a complete line of exclusive, new NOOK accessories (www.nook.com/accessories) to show their style wherever they go. They can also create personalized My Shelves to organize their NOOK Library and group reading content similar to their bookcase.
A customer’s entire NOOK Library follows them wherever they go. They can also easily transfer personal EPUB and PDF files to their All-New NOOK device to read documents on the go using the 2GB internal memory or a microSD™ card. Since the All-New NOOK is built on Android™ Operating System 2.1 and uses Adobe technology, device owners can also borrow digital books from their local library, a feature Barnes & Noble has always offered to NOOK device customers. Customers can also read seamlessly, accessing their NOOK Library and sync the last page read across their NOOK devices and their favorite mobile and computing devices using Barnes & Noble’s free line of eReading software (www.bn.com/freenookapps).
The All-New NOOK can be pre-ordered for $139 today and is expected to begin shipping on or about June 10, making it the perfect gift for dads and grads, and a great addition for every book lover’s summer reading wish list. Experience the All-New NOOK at www.nook.com or at the NOOK Boutiques™ and displays in one of Barnes & Noble’s more than 700 bookstores. With The Barnes & Noble Promise™, the company offers unmatched customer support in neighborhood Barnes & Noble bookstores, as more than 40,000 booksellers across the country are ready to assist customers with setting up their NOOKs or choosing their next great read. The company also continues to provide award-winning customer service support via phone and email. The All-New NOOK will also be available beginning next month at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Books-A-Million, along with NOOK Color.