Owners of Barnes & Noble’s digital e-ink reader, the Nook, in both WiFi and WiFi + 3G editions, can now upgrade their e-reader to run version 1.5 of the firmware, which promises to improve page turn speeds and bring a number of improvements. The faster page turn times will be greatly appreciated as the e-reader’s e-ink display does take a while to refresh the page. Here are the full list of features that are included in the update:
- Sync current reading position across devices. Sync across all NOOK eReaders and devices enabled with NOOK software and apps, including iPad, iPhone/iPod touch, Android smartphones and PC.
- Customize folders and group content for My B&N Library. The My Shelves feature enables users to organize B&N Libraries by a particular subject or theme, on easy-to-organize, easily-accessible Shelves.
- Password protection option for purchases made on a NOOK device. Customers can require their Barnes & Noble account password be entered before NOOK authorizes any content download (purchases, samples and free books). This is a helpful feature customers requested for NOOKs that are shared among family members, students in a class and company employees).
- Pass code security for the NOOK. Customers can configure NOOK to lock the screen after a certain number of minutes and then require a pass code to unlock it. The pass code security feature will activate each time the NOOK does powers on, awakens form Sleep Mode.
- Faster page turns. Customers can enjoy a 50% faster turn rate than the previous version.
- Improved search functionality that includes My Documents (side-loaded content) in the results.
- Additional battery and other performance enhancements
The company also updated its app for users who would prefer to read their Barnes & Noble-purchased ebook library on their Android smartphone as well. Nook version 2.4 for Android brings in-app shopping. Users can now quickly purchase a new book title with an in-app browser on their Nook Android application. Also, highlighting and notes are now possible on Android as well.
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While the company’s Nook with e-ink display utilizes e-ink for better direct sunlight readability, Barnes & Noble had also introduced a Nook Color, a heavily customized Android-powered 7-inch tablet that will make use of color and Android’s multimedia capabilities to showcase children’s books along with periodicals and magazines. Both products will be offered side by side for the holidays so users can have a choice of which they prefer. Before releasing the Nook Color, Barnes & Noble had differentiated its offerings from other e-readers by offering a secondary color touchscreen right beneath its e-ink display rather than offering a keyboard. This offers Nook to be more dynamic, with the second screen changing depending on the mode or menu you’re in, and partially accommodates for the slower e-ink display refresh rate.