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Wednesday May 18, 2011 12:49 pm

Confirmed: Barnes & Noble will launch new Nook e-reader on May 24

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Handhelds

Nook may 24

Barnes & Noble has sent out invitations to a May 24 event in New York City to announce a new e-reader device, most likely a new Nook.

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?

  1. Better battery life. According to the our review of the Nook Color, the battery life was only eight hours, using a color LCD. Barnes & Noble could either improve the Nook with a more effective battery (longer battery life with the same weight and depth) or else feature a hardware redesign, like a...
  2. Return to E Ink? Barnes & Noble has touted the Nook's color LCD display as a competitive advantage. But if customers are turning to low-power E-Ink, perhaps we could see a "Nook Mini" catering to text and battery life, or just an update to the original Nook.
  3. A pure tablet? Reports claim that Amazon has two tablets in the works. Could Barnes & Noble have jumped the gun with its own tablet? It's not out of the question, if Barnes & Noble also plans to run an app store, much like Amazon has.
  4. A simpler redesign. The last possibility is the simplest: a refined redesign, with no great leaps forward. While Barnes & Noble is profitable (especially after beginning to sell the Nook), it doesn't have the clout of Amazon. Content partnerships would be likely, however.

What does the Nook need? Tell us in the comments below.

This article, written by Mark Hachman, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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