Rumor: New Nook Color announcement coming Nov 7th?

NOOK Color

Nate at The Digital Reader hears that Barnes & Noble will hold an event on November 7th, and that the company could be ready to unveil its next-generation NOOK Color.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is holding a Windows Phone event on November 7th.

Coincidence?

Man, I hope so.

Seriously, I know Nokia generated a lot of excitement by dropping Symbian and launching a new line of smartphones running Windows Phone 7, but something tells me Barnes & Noble isn’t about to follow suit — especially since Microsoft only licenses WP7 for phones. I just thought it was kind of funny that both of these events are happening on the same day.

The original NOOK Color is an eBook Reader with a 7 inch color LCD display. It runs a version of Google’s Android operating system and can run a number of third party apps. If you root it you can also use the NOOK Color as a full-fledged Android tablet, which has made the $250 tablet rather popular with tinkerers.

But a lot has changed since the NOOK Color hit the market last year. Recently Amazon and Kobo introduced new color tablets which will be able to run third party apps, play audio and video, and display eBooks. Both of those devices will sell for about $200.

It’s not yet clear how Barnes & Noble plans to spruce up its second offering, but if the company wants to hang onto its early lead in the color eBook Reader/tablet space, the NOOK Color 2 is going to have to be either cheaper or way cooler than the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Update: Yup, Barnes & Noble is holding an event on November 7th. And in case you missed it, I only threw in the coincidental timing of the Windows Phone 7 event as a joke. The odds of Barnes & Noble moving away from Android at this point are pretty slim.

  • Bob

    Not sure what “way cooler” means (may be I’m behind on my net lingo), but as a fan of the rooted CM7 NC, I’m mainly looking for an updated SoC, since the A8 is getting long in the tooth.

    Strictly speaking, the NC doesn’t really need an upgrade, as the NC is more than capable as an e-reader, and its 800MHz A8 is on par with the majority of phones still in service. To put it in perspective, the latest triple-A game, Shadowgun, ran fine on the NC w/ Chainfire3D. But I understand tech toys need a facelift at least once a year, if for nothing other than marketing alone.

    NC2 will likely need to match KF in price, but I don’t think it will be cheaper, since the KF is already selling at a loss. For techies who like their toys rooted, even if the NC2 retains the $250 price, the extra $ is worth it for the SD slot. Common sense says that B&N will keep to the successful NC template: stripped-down, low-priced, IPS screen, and good quality. Amazon is certainly hewing that line.

    Not sure why the concern over coinciding announcements. NC2 getting phone features (ergo WP) is like Bill Gates getting poor. Ain’t happenin.

    Most likely is that we’ll see something similar to the KF, except with a SD slot. Looking forward to Nov 7.

  • Anonymous

    Before I ordered the KF I thought about my need for a SD slot as well as a camera and additional memory. The bottom line is we live in a multi-gadget world made possible by low prices for specialized devices. The marketing engine entices people to buy and it is now want to rather than need to. The web and cloud allows you to transfer content and I would be shocked if a NC or KF users does not have a PC of some sort and carry a phone with a camera. B&N wants to stay in the game with a refreshed device thus the world of competition. Amazon is selling content on a larger scale and its eco-system right now has a huge edge. 

    • Bob

      I’m not a fan of cloud services, because that means getting bottlenecked by my cable modem’s slow (1Mbit/s) upload speed. This applies to the vast majority of people in the US, so, say, backing up your video collection, or even your music collection, “to the cloud” just ain’t happening any time soon. Moreover, the 2/5GB monthly cap on 3G data effectively restricts “cloud” to wifi places.

      Secondly, I’m pretty sure that once you go off the reservation (read: rooted), then making use of Amazon’s proprietary cloud service will be problematic if not outright impossible. Cloud service means device authentication, which usually excludes custom ROMs. Even if some enterprising hacker comes through, Amazon will likely issue updates to close the loophole, since that would be a security breach.

      Then, without cloud access, the KF is kinda crippled, given the paltry 8GB storage (more likely 6GB or less) and no SD. One can still access external storage via wifi and USB, but it’s slow for the first, and inconvenient for the second.

      To sum, the KF is great if you intend to use it as stock, for the cloud thingie and for Amazon’s content. It’s not so great for techies (read: anybody reading this) who plan to root it and use custom ROM.

      BTW, the Kindle Reader & Amazon App Store both run fine on an NC. That’s where the bulk of Amazon content is anyway.

      • Anonymous

        I view cloud service more generically for example I have all my music stored on my PC as well as some on my I-Pod.  I understand that most large corporations are now moving away from shared and split service with their enterprise systems their organic cloud.

        Generically a 7″ tablet is more attractive to me than a larger tablet, and in my judgement the KF edged out the NC.  A year from now the landscape will change as technology including OS emerges and worse case I will have a media player (KF) in my brief case.

        I fully expect thumb drives with significantly larger storage but less optimistic in the next 2 years of major advances in cable through put, network costs and expansion expensive.

        CD’s and DVD’s will go the way of floppy disks and hard drives replaced by mega flash memory.  

        Will B&N survive or be taken over is a valid question but back on point your NC will still be useful but its resale value (if that matters) will take a hit.

        Welcome to the disposable society, I have a draw full of old cell phones

      • Bob

        These aren’t high-priced items to start with, so resale value doesn’t matter. I’m more of the hand-me-down type, anyway. As you said, the 7″ form factor can be re-purposed for a variety of uses, and it will always work as an e-reader. I like to have multiple e-readers set up on my desk, each opened to a separate manual or book. Having multiple screens can be a big asset.

        Whether B&N floats or sinks also isn’t a big factor for me, since I don’t use their services (running CM7). Any ebook I bought from them has been de-DRM’ed. And if I need cloud services, I can set up my own, using any of the various online storages available. I can afford the self-sufficiency, since I’m a techie. Still, I don’t see a reason for gloom & doom for B&N just because Amazon decides to compete in the space.

        BTW, I wouldn’t count on thumb drives working on the KF, at least not with the stock OS/kernel. USB host mode only officially exists in 3.1, and KF’s custom OS is 2.x. Secondly, most micro-SD ports on tablets only output 100mA, which isn’t enough to power most thumb drives.

        Funny enough, I’m using some iPod Shuffle (1st gen) for USB xfers to the NC. Since they’re self-powered, the NC can see them fine.

        In a couple of weeks when hopefully both NC2 and KF will be available, we’ll revisit the “which is better” issue.

      • Anonymous

        Resale does not matter to me as well and funny I still have my original I-pod shuffle as well (cannot kill it). My plain Kindle will continue to be my e-reader, the e-ink and battery life is superior.

        The prospect for B&N is more of an oh by the way, hey I own a SABB.  

        The R&D thumb drives I have seen are slick but the spec’s NDA material.  Regardless the KF will stay an entry level device with their Hollywood model the up market tablet but as I noted the 7″ form factor should serve me as well as my white I-Pod shuffle.

  • Anonymous

    1. Kindle Fire doesn’t have microSD slot that, for example, Nook Color has thus it is stuck with 6 GB usable internal storage unlike Nook Color that can get up to 32 GB card in. Kindles are made to be almost like a “dumb terminal” of the past to make sure you’re tied up to Amazon’s storage on the web (for which you need Wi-Fi connection to get to) and you can only store content you get from Amazon there, not other files. Quoting Amazon on Kindle Fire: “Free cloud storage for all Amazon content”. Get it, Amazon content?
    2. The stats of how long the battery can last (Kindle Fire theory is 7.5 hours) are taken with Wi-Fi off. It will last only about 3 hours if you use it to access content from their Cloud storage over Wi-Fi.
    3. Amazon can spy on your web activity through their new cloud-integrated web browser of Kindle Fire.
    4. VERY IMPORTANT – lack of microSD slot means that if you decide to root your Kindle Fire, you’ll have to root the actual device thus there will be no coming back. On Nook Color, you can make it boot from a “rooted” microSD card and if you want to get back to the original Nook you can just take out the card and reboot.
    5. Kindle Fire doesn’t have a camera.
    6. Kindle Fire has about 70% less usable screen area than iPad 2.
    7. Kindle doesn’t support eBooks in ePub format that is the most used format in the world.
    8. Kindle app store contains only Amazon approved apps and it does not include (and will not include) Netflix app that iPad has and Nook Color is getting thus again you’re stuck with Amazon content only.
    9. Amazon confirmed that you cannot download anything to Kindle Fire when traveling outside US.
    10. Amazon says it will review every app in its Appstore for Fire compatibility, as part of an automated process. Rejected apps will include those that rely on a gyroscope, camera, WAN module, Bluetooth, microphone, GPS, or micro SD. Apps are also forbidden from using Google’s Mobile Services (and in-app billing), which, if included, will have to be “gracefully” removed. In terms of actual content, Amazon has outlawed all apps that change the tablet’s UI in any way (including theme- or wallpaper-based tools), as well as any that demand root access.
    11. I’d recommend waiting for Nook Color 2 that is rumored to be released by Barnes & Noble shortly.