There’s been chatter that Barnes & Noble is getting ready to introduce a second-generation e-ink-based Nook electronic reader to replace the original Nook. The new e-ink reader would be released help Barnes & Noble better compete against Amazon’s Kindle 3, which offers a newer, better electronic ink display that’s even easier on the eyes with better contrast. In a federal filing, according to the Wall Street Journal, Barnes & Noble has informed investors and analysts that it intends on bringing a new e-reader to the market as soon as May 24.
The company would not elaborate beyond the SEC filing that states that the company “indicated it expects to make an announcement on May 24, 2011, regarding the launch of a new eReader device,” reports CNET.
The filing did not indicate whether Barnes & Noble would refresh its Nook Color line, which is a curated Android tablet experience that’s specifically made for the reading audience and utilizes a full LCD touchscreen, or if its to replace the aging e-ink based Nook, which was originally released in November 2009. Many on the Internet speculate that Barnes & Noble would replace the older model as it had just recently rolled out a new software update for the Nook Color to give it more features, including Android 2.2, Adobe Flash support, and third-party apps.
Pricing for the new Nook, or Nook 2 as some are calling it, would have to remain low and cost competitive with a future Amazon Kindle with Offers, which is a Kindle that would be lower in price than today’s Kindles due to the device displaying ads to users as a trade off.
Analysts speculate that with the dual-screen design of the original Nook, the device costs Barnes & Noble more to manufacture the secondary LCD screen used to navigate the e-ink reader than it does for Amazon to make the Kindle with the physical keyboard. As a result of costs and to remain competitive in the e-ink reader space, Amazon may do away with the secondary touchscreen entirely.
When it launched originally, it was a novel concept, but it also diminishes battery life on the device as users say that the Nook’s battery life between charges is roughly half of the Kindle 3’s battery life. Barnes & Noble is speculated to go with the Sony approach by overlaying a touchscreen layer on top of the e-ink display if it eliminates the secondary color LCD touchscreen, according to CNET.
Thus far, the Nook Color is seen as a successful product on the market. Though it’s not as possible as modern tablets, like the Motorola xoom, it remains to be one of the most affordable, well-designed Android tablets on the market with a price tag of just $250. Some users who have hacked their Nook Color have been able to root the device and load Android 3.0 Honeycomb into that tablet.