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. There is no access to the Android Market, nor does it include any Google Apps. In order to keep the user experience consistent, B&N has its own set of proprietary libraries that developers must use when writing apps for the NOOK Color, so everything flows together within the NOOK ecosystem. Whether or not your favorite apps will be available on the NC is completely up to the developer, but according to Engadget there should be around 125 different apps currently available, with upwards of 5000 developers actively working on bringing more to the device.
There are also numerous updates to the reading experience, including improved animations, the ability to read in landscape mode, and the addition of videos and animations to books. The latter should prove to be convenient for how-to applications, such as cookbooks, but don't expect to watch a feature film inside of your book. For the kiddies, there is a new feature being added to some books called "read and play" which brings simple games and interactive activities within the book.
Also included in this update is beta access to the social portal - a place where friends can share what they're reading, comment, and even "lend" books to one another.
While this update brings many welcome features to most NOOK owners, I'm sure that the most savvy of us will still want to root, hack, and mod the NC to lovingly force it to do things that a full Android Tablet should do.
The update is scheduled to roll out to all devices in the coming weeks, but if you don't want to wait that long, you can grab the update from here.