updated 09:35 am EDT, Wed October 14, 2009
Barnes e-reader may have dual displays
Barnes & Noble's imminent e-book reader may make a second, multi-touch display its central feature, a leak shows today. Renderings, photos and details obtained today by Gizmodo show the device having both a grayscale e-paper display, like most readers, but also a small, full color, multi-touch LCD. The interface would not only give a responsive, adaptable keyboard but would be used to browse and pick books.
Such a layout would explain Barnes & Noble representative statements claiming a color e-book display that were rejected by the reader's creator, Plastic Logic. The contact may have mistakenly interpreted the second screen as evidence of color on the entire device.
It's unclear how the LCD would affect battery life. Most e-book devices can often run for days or at times weeks as e-paper draws no power when it's not being updated; a constantly active screen would hurt battery life until it switches off.
Similarly, it's uncertain whether lending feature will arrive intact, though the source for the leak suggests Barnes & Noble will use its role as a publisher to give itself heavily discounted prices on its own bookstore. Google's collection of public domain and out-of-print books is expected as well.
No confirmation yet exists for ship dates or pricing, though the reader is rumored to have both 3G and Wi-Fi and is likely to be costlier than the $259 Kindle.