updated 09:15 am EDT, Mon April 25, 2011
Barnes & Noble pushes Nook Color Android 2.2
Barnes & Noble as promised on Monday pushed out its Android 2.2 update for the Nook Color. The upgrade transforms the device into more of a full tablet with a native e-mail app and an app store. A mix of 125 free and paid apps curated by the bookstore are available, including the obligatory Angry Birds as well as Epicurious, Uno HD and others optimized for the near-buttonless design.
The move also gives expected Android 2.2 updates. A faster, more modern browser also now includes built-in Flash support, better multi-touch zooming, and better device-wide search. Quick shortcuts now exist to tune settings. Social networking is now more of a staple with a Nook Friends beta app preloaded to share recommendations, reviews, and book progress along with Facebook likes.
Nook Color owners can update the reader immediately through a manual check or wait for the update to roll out over the air in the next few weeks.
Barnes & Noble's attitude towards the LCD reader has changed dramatically in the past few months. It initially sold the Nook Color as a mildly enhanced color reader but is now treating the device more as a specialized but genuine tablet. Without an official update, hobbyists have been hacking tablet-ready Android builds on to the device, but Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch now saw it as more of an official competitor to the iPad that would cover core features at $249, or half the $499 for Apple's base model.
"[The Nook Color is] a great alternative to paying double the price -- or more -- for an expensive tablet," Lynch said in a direct reference to Apple. "[It] presents the best value of any tablet on the market."