Barnes & Noble officially took the wraps off its new Nook Wi-Fi, the bookstore's latest eager attempt to dethrone the current e-book reader monarchy, ruled by the Amazon Kindle.
The Nook Wi-Fi dons a 6" electronic paper display with 16 level grayscale and adjustable text size, all specifications that describe Amazon's rival reader, the Kindle 2. Barnes & Noble's Nook is very visually different from the Kindle, however, in that it includes a 3.5" TFT color touch screen underneath the primary reading screen. Using the touch screen, one navigates through his or her collection of books in full-color, a nice little touch.
Like the Kindle 2, the Nook comes packaged with 2GB of internal memory, which, according to the company, can hold up to 1,500 e-books. A microSD slot, which the Kindle 2 lacks, will allow users to expand the device's storage capacity indefinitely.
Barnes & Noble has the device listed for $149.
The older version of the Nook, which includes all of the same features as the Wi-Fi version in addition to 3G capability, is now available for $199. The Kindle 2, for comparison, sells at $259.
While Barnes & Noble makes no mistake that the Nook is competing with Amazon's Kindle 2, they neglect that their competitor offers a bigger and better e-reader for $489, the Kindle DX. That device dons a 9.7" display and 4GB of internal memory, enough for up to 3,500 books.
Does the future hold more expensive, premium Nooks and cheaper, simpler Kindles? If this is an all-out e-reader war, then we can be sure of it.