Looks like Barnes and Noble is set to release some new Nook hardware on the heels of all the new Amazon Kindle goodness that's been all the rage in the e-reader world lately. It all goes down a week from today, and we expect to see a new Nook Color, but also wouldn't be surprised if the Simple Touch Reader got a facelift as well.
Barnes & Noble has not indicated what the event will cover, with PR firm Fleishman refusing to take a page from Apple's playbook and tease audiences with what the announcement could include.
However, in a May 4 10K filing, Barnes & Noble disclosed that the May 24 announcement would indeed be an e-reader. "In a meeting with investor analysts on May 4, 2011, Barnes & Noble, Inc. (the "Company") indicated it expects to make an announcement on May 24, 2011 regarding the launch of a new eReader device," the company said, without elaborating.
Barnes & Noble now represents more than 25 percent of all of the U.S. market for e-books, more than the company's share of physical books, and it sells twice the number of e-books as physical books, at least online. The company exceeded its sales plans for e-book sales during the company's most recent quarter.It is the fourth straight quarter of topline growth exceeding 50 percent since selling the Nook in 2009.
As an e-reader with tablet functionality, the Nook wouldn't seem to have many features that it lacks compares to other e-readers. The Nook is available in color, and in both Wi-Fi, and in 3G, although speculation is that version is dying.
"It remains early in the development of the digital reading market," said William Lynch, the chief executive of Barnes & Noble, in a conference call on Feb. 22.
What could Barnes & Noble offer, perhaps in a Nook 2?
Famous authors won't lose the ability to autograph their books in the digital age if Barnes & Noble has anything to say about it. With a firmware upgrade, the Nook Color will reportedly allow authors to sign their books with a stylus. The first "e-book signing" is scheduled for next week.
Authors will need to put their Sharpies down, and instead use a stylus to sign a book directly on the Nook Color's touchscreen, and the e-reader will store the signature on that digital copy of the book. Presumably, the signature would be visible to anyone who reads it, even friends who borrow the book on the Nook platform, essentially converting bragging rights to digital form.
Yesterday the Nook Color received a major software upgrade—adding apps, an email client, and Adobe Flash compatibility—but the new autograph feature appears to be separate from that. A company called Autography has patented software for writing autographs on e-books, but it's not known whether the Nook feature uses that technique or something different.
Barnes & Noble just announced the nook Color, their next-generation color touchscreen nook ebook reader with 7-inch display, powered by Android. They're saying it's a cross between a tablet device and e-reader, and it'll obviously integrate with a bunch of web services and apps (it's already got Facebook and Twitter integration.) Wi-Fi (but not 3G) is built right in, and the display is impressive at 1024x600 resolution with IPS technology and supporting 16 million colors which B&N refers to as "VividView." The nook Color will ship on November 19th, and you can pre-order it now for $249.
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