Anyone that has ever spent any length of time with an e-ink based e-reader like the Kindle or Nook can attest to their uselessness in dark spaces. Now it looks like Barnes and Noble is going to be taking a crack at fixing that shortcoming of e-readers in an effort to gain some traction in its battle against Amazon. Leaked signage points to an updated Nook Simple Touch with a front-lit screen, and it might be here sooner than you think.
Barnes & Noble announced today that it is considering selling its NOOK business, citing significant shortfalls in sales and cutting its full-year forecast.
B&N also cited NOOK sales which fell below expectations, and investments in advertising and expansion as reasons for a predicted shortfall in fiscal 2012 sales of between $200 million and $320 million less than average estimates of $7.32 billion.
The major bookseller indicated that it plans to market the NOOK for "years to come," but that it "over-anticipated the growth in consumer demand for single-purpose black-and-white reading devices this holiday," as the company's simplest e-reader lagged far behind in sales compared to other members of the NOOK family.
Looking to keep pace with Amazon, it seems Barnes & Noble has something up their sleeve this month - the Nook Tablet. Coming to market in just under two weeks, the Nook Tablet is a dead ringer for the Nook Color, but it brings to the table substantially pumped up specs that, in some ways, surpass its nearest competition - the Kindle Fire.
A nice set of photocopied documents leaked out today, giving us all the details we need about the Nook Tablet - it's set to launch November 16th at a cool $249.
It's not exactly news that mobile devices are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to consume data. From Twitter feeds to RSS, it's becoming increasingly common to see people reading on their devices, whether it be a tablet, e-reader or phone.
The Search for Simplicity
However, a problem I ran into was that not all web sites are optimized for reading on a mobile device. While some sites have the decency to have a mobile theme, others load in full view and have trouble wrapping text to a zoomed-in screen.
The Barnes & Noble NOOK Color has been the e-reader of choice for many Android power users because of its hackability, making it easy to transform it into a full featured tablet. B&N must've taken note from the Android dev community, because an update has just been released for the NOOK Color that brings Froyo, apps, flash player, and more to this budget friendly device.
Before you get too excited, though, it's not exactly what you think.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the only Android-based tablet worth considering. But is it? That question is now up in the air since Barnes and Noble's $250 NOOKcolor, an Android-based e-reader, has been rooted. While before the deed was done it was just that - an e-reader - it's now taken on a life of its own, a life complete with Angry Birds:
The procedure is still a bit complicated (as you'll see for yourself below), but it's definitely a start - until z4Root, SuperOneClick, or some other one-click solution becomes available, I've got a feeling this is your best bet.