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New NOOK to be announced by Barnes and Noble

May 5, 2011

***DISCLAIMER***

While I am certainly an employee of Barnes & Noble, nothing I write in this post should be taken as any more than speculation on my part. This is my personal blog and these are my personal opinions.

***DISCLAIMER***

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way I can move on to the good stuff. Barnes & Noble, it seems, is readying a new NOOK e-reader device. I’m really excited about this. There have been rumors of new device for a while now (the kind of corporate urban myth rumors that every company has now and again), but no indication really of what to expect or when. But according to an SEC filing yesterday, that announcement is due to come on May 24th.

I’ll reiterate that I have no idea what this device could be, but here are my guesses/hopes in no particular order:

  1. An updated black and white, e-inked screened NOOK e-reader at a lower cost to replace the original NOOK which is now almost 2 years old. It could be faster, have a much longer battery life, would probably be smaller and lighter, and may or may not come with an ad supported option to subsidize an even lower price like the most recent version of the Kindle.
  2. A larger color NOOK running Android 3.0 which would be more of a direct competitor to the iPad. A true tablet as opposed to the “readers” tablet that the NOOKcolor is billed as. It’s important to note I cannot fathom the NOOKcolor being replaced, a major software update just came down for it and the device itself is only 6 months old. Even Apple doesn’t have a turn around on devices that quickly.
  3. A more durable version of the NOOKcolor marketed for use as a children’s e-reader. Call in NOOKkids or something. This in an interesting possibility considering the emphasis we’ve seen on “kids apps” and games in the new NOOK application shop. Personally, I think the thing would sell like crazy. So I’d be all for it.
  4. Lastly, and this is the gorilla in the e-reader room that no one has mentioned for a while, Barnes & Noble could be announcing a new NOOK with the fabled mirasol screen. For those who don’t know what that is, the Qualcomm developed mirasol screen is basically an e-ink screen that can also do color. On a practical level, this means that you could conceivably use the screen out in direct sunlight like a true e-ink e-reader, but also enjoy the benefits of color for magazines and possibly kids books that a device like the NOOKcolor provides. The proverbial best of both worlds. A little over a year ago, an unnamed company made a huge investment in this technology to ready a device for production, and I’ve read recently that Qualcomm has hinted at a pre-summer release for it. We’ll know soon enough.
So if I had to wish for what this new device would be I’d go for either numbers 3 or 4 on my list. I think either of those would make a huge splash in the e-reader market and really do well for Barnes & Noble. Can’t wait to find our either way though. Thoughts? What would you guys like to see in a new e-reader?
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