US largest brick and mortar independent bookstore, Barnes and Nobles, has launched a new eBook reader, the Nook, that comes with a prominent secondary colour touchscreen display that can be used as a keyboard.
Unsurprisingly, the primary screen still uses a monochrome E-Ink screen to save battery life. The Nook - which some have already called a Kindle Killer - has a quoted battery life of 10 days compared to the 14 days of the Amazon Kindle.
Barnes and Nobles has confirmed that the Nook will come with WiFi and will allow its owners to use AT&T's 3G network to download books when roving in the US.
Specs wise, this is a 317g device with a 3.5-inch colour screen and a 6-inch monochrome one. It has a 2GB internal memory which can be expanded with an optional 16GB microSD card. It can also double as a MP3 player and comes with a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack.
One unique ability of the ebook will be that users will be able to lend ebooks between them for up to 14 days. You will only be able to lend the ebook to one user at a time (like for a real physical book) and the owner won't be able to read it during the lending period.
The lending ability is not restricted to the Nook users but also any other devices - iPhone, PC, Netbook, smartphone - that uses Barnes and Noble's ebook platform. Interestingly, the device is powered by Google's Android platform which could offer a number of possibilities.
The Nook will go on sale at the end of the month for $259, roughly £160. It is unlikely that this eBook reader will go on sale in the UK any soon because Barnes and Noble is not present in the UK. However, we presume that this is a white-labeled platform that other retailers and publishers might adopt it later.
The Nook supports the open Epub format as well as PDF and others as well. One of the problems though remains the fact that Barnes and Noble ebook prices appear to be more expensive than Amazon's. B&N has more than 40,000 titles and apparently more than 20 newspapers have agreed to collaborate with B&N