updated 03:25 pm EDT, Thu October 21, 2010
Barnes and Noble Nook Color rumored coming
Barnes & Noble's special Nook-related event next week may result in a color e-reader, a source mentioned this afternoon. To be called just the Nook Color, it would have a seven-inch touchscreen as its main interface, presumably in place of the split e-paper and LCDs it uses today. The contact for CNET isn't certain of the technology, though it's more likely to be LCD with mirasol displays not due to formally launch until early 2011.
Whatever its design, it wouldn't carry a significant premium as the finished design would cost $249, or $50 more than the top-end Nook 3G. Accordingly, the two e-paper models would still be in the lineup to catch buyers who didn't need or want the new display. Barnes & Noble had hinted early this week that the old line wasn't being phased out as it promised the Nook 1.5 update was coming roughly at the same time as the New York City event.
It's expected to draw at least some comparisons to the iPad since both the original Nook and the rumored Color model would use Android. Barnes & Noble is supposedly trying to distance its design from Apple's and wouldn't replicate full tablet features in return for half the price.
Company officials haven't commented on the details, but the move would be considered a way to bridge the gap between e-readers and tablets as well as to differentiate the Nook from the Kindle. Both have priced their current hardware within $10 of each other and have many similar components, owing in part to their mutual dependence on e-paper. Color would open the door to both richer existing books as well as to formats that translate poorly to grayscale readers, like comic books and magazines.