May 242011

Barnes and Noble CEO William Lynch on May 25, 2011 launched its second generation eReader, calling it the NOOK Simple Touch Reader, also called the NOOK Touch. First shipments the new NOOK occurred on 10 June 2011. The original Nook, using a non-interactive Vizplex E-ink display, was released in October 2009. The Android-based NOOKColor which launched in November 2010 departed from the E-ink display all together, and adopted instead a full color LCD display putting it head-to-head in competition with the emerging arena of tablet computers such as the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab.


Laser Sharp Reading Experiance

The new NOOK Simple Touch Reader eBook reader device, currently priced at $79, almost half the original price of $139, hails a 6” screen with resolution of 800×600 pixels. It uses the latest Pearl E Ink screen technology, as used by all the leading ereaders. The Pearl E-Ink display which was first adopted by the 3rd generation Amazon Kindle in August 2010 and then the Sony PRS350 and PRS650 devices in September 2010. Compared with previous generation ereaders the Pearl screen offers 50% higher contrast and 80% faster page turns. E Ink works like printed paper, reflecting ambient light falling on the page. Hence, the E Ink display can be read even in bright sunlight, just like printed paper, but unlike light emitting displays commonly used on tablets. As reported in PC Mag, “Thanks to plenty of upgrades and a laser-sharp focus on the reading experience, the Nook Touch Reader is our new Editors’ Choice for ereaders.”

Navigation better than Kindle Touch

Navigation and user input is via a touchscreen facility which is implemented using a network of infrared beams slightly above the screen surface. As these beams are invisible to the human eye, there is no reduction in display quality. Comments about the user interface are generally positive with the touchscreen helping to make navigation intuitive. A MSNBC reviewer favored “the Nook Simple Touch over the Kindle Touch due to its better user interface”. Organizing the on device book collection is enabled by manually assigning each book to a shelf. This cannot be done using a PC based collection management software such as Calibre.

Supported file formats include EPUB (DRM and non-DRM), and PDF. The Nook does not support txt or rtf. EPub DRM allows DNS users to borrow and read library books. The Nook Touch supports the LendMe program. Depending on licensing by the book’s publisher, this allows users to share some books with other people. The buyer is permitted to share a book once with one other user for up to two weeks. Any Nook book may be viewed using a Nook, Nook Color, Nook Tablet, or B&N’s free reader software on any other device running iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Android, BlackBerry OS, Windows or Mac OS X.

Carry 3,2000 In Your Pocket

The Nook Touch it has 2 GB of internal memory of which only half is available for content. Of the 1 GB of content storage capacity, 750 MB is reserved for content from Barnes & Noble’s e-book store, and approximately 250 MB for user’s own files. Thus the Nook Touch can “only” store about 1000 books; however microSD and microSDHC memory cards can be inserted to expand the Nook Touch’s memory up to 32 GB, allowing another 32,000 books to be stored. As there is no audio capability and very limited image support, most of the storage capacity will be used by book. Image may only be used as screensaver replacements and cannot be viewed directly. Supported formats JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP.

Nook Touch Battery Life

The Nook Touch battery capacity is sufficient for 1800 page refreshes. Bearing in mind that each page on the Nook Touch can display about half the content of a printed page used an average sized font; this means that single battery charge can be used to display the equivalent of about 900 printed pages, or about 4 books. This assumes that the wireless is turned off. If the wireless is on, the number of pages refreshed drops to one-third or about 600, equivalent to about 300 printed pages, or about 1 and a half books.

Connecting The Nook Touch

The Nook Touch has wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. The Nook Touch can access Free Wi-Fi in B&N stores and all AT&T hotspots, although there is no internet browser. However, there is NOOK Friends for sharing your book notes via Facebook and Twitter. The primary purpose of the Wi-Fi is to browse the Nook Book store and perhaps buy one of the 2.5 million titles available wirelessly. Additionally, the “Read In Store” promotion allows you to read books on your NOOK FREE in B&N stores, and “More In Store” offers exclusive content available on your NOOK in B&N stores.

Other connections to the Nook Touch include a USB port for charging and connecting to a computer.

eBook Reader Guide Recommentation

Features the latest e-ink screen technology offering the closest experiance of reading on paper, and so ideal for textual and long duration reading.
Can be held in one hand like a paper back book, without tiring.
Can be read outdoors in bright sunlight.
Easy touch interface for text entry, eg annotation.
When dark need a reading light, or a light built into the Nook cover.
Not suitable for books with color or interactive content.

In comparison with the first generation Nook, the Nook Touch has: no audio replay capability via an audio output jack, no image viewer function, no internet browser, and no 3G option. None of these features are essential for book reading. On the plus side, the Nook Touch weighs 7.5oz making it 35% lighter than the original NOOK, 15% thinner than the original NOOK, 32mm shorter despite having the same screen size, battery like of 60 days instead of 10 days and high contrast Pearl screen gives the closer experience to printed paper. All of these advantages combine to make the Nook Simple Touch a strong competitor to the incumbent Kindle.
Price $79. Read Nook Simple Touch Reviews.

See our eReaders Compared for the full details.

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