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Nook gets upgrade to Android 2.2, adds 125 new Apps, keeps price

Barnes & Noble seems to think that it is in a war with Apple for Tablet subscribers and its Nook Color has had yet another makeover, since the launch

By PETER WHITE

Published: 28 April, 2011

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Barnes & Noble seems to think that it is in a war with Apple for Tablet subscribers and its Nook Color has had yet another makeover, since the launch last November of tablet-like features were first announced.

The significant new features are included in the existing $249 price and include a tiny App Store, the ability for books to offer in-page video, added interactivity for children’s picture books and over 150 interactive magazines and newspapers. The features are downloadable for free and will begin loading to WiFi customers next week.

William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “With our new Nook Apps program, we’ve partnered with the world’s best publishers and developers to offer popular brands like Angry Birds, Epicurious, Uno, Lonely Planet, Dr. Seuss, Little Critter and many more quality and entertaining applications. These and other enhancements, plus new ways for adults and children to experience exciting content, make Nook Color a great alternative to paying double the price – or more – for an expensive tablet.”

It was clear from the use of Android 2.1 at launch that there would either be access to Android Market or a subset App Store of its own making, and it has taken the more walled garden approach with Nook Apps which has kicked off with a mere 125 Apps, those it thinks are appropriate for an ebook tablet – mostly to accentuate reading products.

When the Nook Color launched it made a great play of its Nookfriends technology, which keeps book choices and opinions and notes available to friends via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. The device also has a fully functioning internet browser.

Initially there were a number of Nook Apps including calendar and notes apps, and some paid apps for between $2.99 and $5.99 – now there are 125 more.

The system has also been upgraded to Android 2.2 from 2.1 which it says gives it an enhanced browser performance including access to more video especially as it now has support for Adobe Flash Player.

In the meantime rumors have it that Barnes &Noble have shipped around 1 million Nooks during the last holiday season, and is shipping 600,000 to 700,000 a month. The company has also settled with Spring Design, a company which claimed that it stole some of its ideas for the Nook and which was seeking a shipment injunction. Barnes &Noble now has signed a license to Spring Design’s patent portfolio. Barnes &Noble said in its latest accounts that increased sales in its stores was down almost entirely to the launch of Nook Color and digital content sales.

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