Archives: Nook Color - Features & Cons

Originally published in November 2010
Simon Nguyen

Since the release of Amazon Kindle in 2007, the e-Book reader market has enjoyed substantial growth in the number of e-reader devices as well as users. However, leading e-readers such as Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook are facing increased competition from tablet devices like the popular iPad. In response, bookseller Barnes & Noble recently announced the latest version of its e-Book reader called Nook Color. The new device, which is designed to be more than just a simple e-reader, is billed as the first full color touch e-reader on the market.

The best feature of Nook Color is the ability to display texts and images in full color. This is a vast improvement over the original version, which only displays contents in grayscale. Due to the enhanced capability, Nook Color can now play videos as well as animations. The new feature also significantly upgrades the user’s web browsing experience, making it on par with most tablet devices. Additionally, the new Nook is expected to support most media and document files including PDF, MPEG4, MP3, MS Office, and the four major image formats. This is another huge improvement over the original Nook, which allows only a limited number of formats.

Another of Nook Color’s cool new features is access to Nook Newsstand, which serves up digital contents from hundreds of newspapers and magazines. With a paid subscription, news junkies will have daily access to articles from top publications. Moreover, the new Nook offers a much bigger storage capacity than the previous version allowing users to store more e-books and media contents than ever before. Barnes & Noble Nook Color can be characterized as a powerful e-reader with tablet-like capabilities.

While Nook Color has many upsides, it also has many cons. In spite of the new capabilities, the device is still primarily an e-Book reader. Users should not expect to be able to create emails or edit contents with Nook Color, though this may change in the future. Furthermore, the new Nook is a touch-only system; there will be no button inputs. While it is understandable that Barnes & Noble wanted to give the device the feel of a tablet computer, it would have been nice to have additional options. Unlike the previous Nook version, Nook Color will not support 3G connection; the users can still browse the web using a Wifi connection. This is a big step backward as most devices of this kind (currently on the market) do allow for 3G connection.

Will Nook Color be able to compete with other leading e-readers as well as tablet devices like iPad? Being the first full-color touch e-reader, Nook Color clearly has a big advantage over Kindle and alike. Consumers love innovation and will certainly give it a fair look. As to whether or not Nook Color can compete with iPad and other tablet computers as a cheaper alternative, the jury is still out. The new Nook only offers a fraction of what tablet computers and even smart phones provide. Consumers are likely to continue to view tablet computers like the iPad as ones with better values.

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