Nook getting web browser, games, and in-store ebook streaming

Good news if you’ve got a Barnes & Noble nook: a new firmware update is finally unlocking that “Read in Store” feature, allowing you to read eBooks in the B&N like you do with the paper books. Also, web browsing and Sudoku!

The news comes courtesy of CNET (by way of jkOnTheRun). “Read in Store” is what I believe to be a killer feature of the nook experience. The open in-store reading policy keeps B&N regulars loyal and happy. Extending that to their eReader what the smartest thing they could have done.

Web browsing is still considered a beta, which is somewhat odd since the device runs the very web-capable Android OS, but of course they need to work out the kinks with the dual screen system and displaying pages on the e-ink screen. While you probably won’t ever do heavy surfing on the device, the major advantage is the ability to log in to wifi hotspots with sign-in pages. Can’t view a sign-in page without a browser to display it.

The two games being offered should appeal to the book-reading crowd: chess and Sudoku. Chess sounds almost ideal for a grayscale display, while Sudoku is probably the hottest book-based game today. Again, bravo to B&N for catering to their audience.

Also announced was a nook app for the iPad to compete against iBooks and the Kindle app. While that might sound counter-productive to their nook, remember that B&N makes their money selling books, so they’re less concerned with the platform that sells their books than the range of customers who can buy their books. App is scheduled for May.