updated 02:50 pm EDT, Tue October 20, 2009
Nook uses AT&T 3G, matches Kindle price
Barnes and Noble lived up to promises today and launched the Nook, its own e-book reader. The device is unique in having both a six-inch E-Ink display and a 3.5-inch color touchscreen LCD that serves to navigate and browse books. Also unlike most other readers in its class, it has both 802.11g Wi-Fi as well as AT&T-driven 3G to download books from Barnes and Noble's online bookstore.
Most books will be stored on 2GB of internal memory, but an SD card slot gives room for more. Barnes and Noble additionally plans to offer the Nook in multiple colors beyond the more traditional white.
The Nook's software is just as unique and brings a predicted sharing feature: owners can lend rights to a book to others for two weeks, including to smartphones and computers as well as other Nooks. Like the Kindle, the store's reader bookmarks properly regardless of screen size and lets users round-trip texts between the Nook and an iPhone, a BlackBerry or a computer.
Its OS is based on Google's Android, according to the bookseller, though it doesn't have access to the web or traditional third-party apps.
Pre-orders start today and have the Nook costing as much as Amazon's recently price-dropped Kindle, at $259. Barnes and Noble hasn't said when the device will ship but does promise free Wi-Fi access for all Nooks at its retail chain.