NEW YORK: Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc is introducing a new Nook e-reader with a colour touchscreen for US$249 (RM800), as competition in the fast-growing industry heats up ahead of the year-end holidays.
As the first full-colour touch electronic reader, the Nookcolor stands apart from black-and-white competitors like Amazon’s Kindle.
The device can be used to read books, magazines, newspapers and an expanded array of children’s titles. It also takes hints from Apple Inc’s iPad with more games, web browsing, music streaming and its own application store. Like earlier versions, it runs on Google Inc’s Android operating system.
Barnes & Noble said it will begin shipping in mid-November.
“I think Barnes & Noble did a pretty good job presenting this device as its own e-reader instead of just a cheaper version of the iPad,” said Simba Information analyst Michael Norris. “It is focused on the reading experience.”
e-Readers are again expected to be popular holiday gifts, but competition has exploded over the past year — especially since Apple released the iPad in April. New models and price cuts for Amazon.com’s Kindle and new offerings from Kobo, Sony and others intend to compete with the iPad and other Tablet computers.
Nookcolor’s features include full-colour display on the new 7in screen; earlier versions offer colour only on the bottom half of a dual-screen. It is lightweight at about a pound, making it easy to grasp while holding a cup of coffee in the other hand, and its battery is estimated to last roughly eight hours between charges.
Barnes & Noble also is offering more digital books for the Nook, including more than 12,000 new titles for kids.
The Nookcolor is US$50 (RM160) more expensive than the most expensive Nook on the market. It is also more expensive than Amazon’s Kindle, which retails for US$139 to US$189 (RM445 to RM600). But it costs much less than the iPad, which starts at US$499 (RM1,600), and that could entice consumers.
Traditional booksellers like Barnes & Noble and Borders are pinning their hopes on e-readers. Research firm The Yankee Group has forecast six million will be sold this year and the market will grow to US$2.5bil (RM8bil) by 2013. — AP