Sunday December 17 , 2017

Nook Touch Browser - Cute or Useful?

touchbrowserBeauty is in the eye of the beholder right?

B&N has been leaking out informally that the nook Touch has a browser. If you go to the search screen and put in a URL it will launch the browser with that site. You might call this a special surprise or and "easter egg".  While it's not supported (yet) it does look much like the browser from the Nook 1st Edition - but it loads far faster. The navigation up and down the page seems near impossible and opening links don't always work right (or at all) for me.

Is it useful? Well if you could flip it sideways and it wasn't a bit buggy I'd say so.  If all you want to do is look at the weather for your town or very simple things it might be a great "freebee".

I think B&N may have apps and a browser on this device, it's just not in "phase 1"... I think there is some danger in this since it's such a great eReader with killer battery life (I'm at almost two weeks with mostly wifi on and a lot of use - 62% remaining).  Time will tell, but for know you have a simple browser!

So would you use it? Have any better luck with it than I have?


The New Nook Simple Touch Reader First Look and Unboxing

And there were three!

We now have three basic nook models. We have the original nook (Wifi and 3G) now dubbed the nook "1st Edition". The original nook was a split screen device that included both a color and eInk screen. The second nook device was the nook Color, which is really an Android tablet with a new set of eReader software that runs apps. Now the new nook "Simple Touch" reader is out showing the B&N commitment to the eInk devices. I got mine today and have some initial first impressions to share.

newnookboxThe packaging of the new nook is pretty tame. It's a simple box with the device at top and generous cord & adapter tucked away at the bottom. Just like the device inside it's pretty utilitarian and simple. There is a nice "Getting Started Guide" included under the device. While most people will never look at it those that need it will find it answers most the questions they have.

The first thing that strikes you is how square the device appears.  In reality the screen is the same dimensions as the original nook but the lack of the extra screen at the bottom makes you think the screen is square when the reading screen is the same size as the original nook.  I expected a thinner device but it's only 6% thinner than the original nook - which isn't a difference you can appreciate. The end result is a much smaller device than the original nook and newest Kindle. The son's first comment was, "Can you fit it in your pocket?" I was easily able to slide it into my shorts pocket.

The screen is striking. It's using the newer Pearl eInk which is far superior to the original nook.  I was amazed at the responsiveness of the touchscreen. I've read complaints about the Sony touchscreens affecting the quality of the display but don't see a hint of that here. The page turns are remarkably fast and smooth. B&N made great use of the screen and as you expect it works much like the nook Color device.

The software "just works" so far. For the most part I suspect it's using the same application codebase as the nook Color with some user interface changes to accomadate the screen differences.  The Library application is a great example, if you've used the nook Color the main difference is the areas are selected with a drop down instead of buttons at the top. The social stuff is all there though on the new nook the nook Friends application is under the social menu instead of the Apps menu (there are no apps on the new nook).  I tested out Overdrive library book transfers and they worked like a champ. I didn't use the same login as I use for B&N (just to dispel that myth).

What didn't work or I didn't like:

  • I got the device in a state where it couldn't use wi-fi but it was connected. Cycling the wi-fi didn't help but a reboot did.
  • I was unable to get "Read in Store" to work. It just hung downloading the book. I think it was related to the wi-fi in the store but will have to try again.
  • Non B&N content is still a second class citizen. 
  • I find the back "off" button a bit hard to press.
  • While everyone in the house thinks it feels "sturdy" the buttons just don't do much for me.
  • None of the Google books from B&N function. Why?

What's different about the new nook you should be aware of?

  • A large hunk of the built-in memory is reserved for B&N content. The newer nook Color devices are setup this way too :(
  • There is no audio support. The original nook and nook Color have audio support for music, etc.
  • Less memory. You only get 1Gb of memory and only 236MB is for you to put your conent on.
  • The battery will actually last. The original nook drained 10% a day in sleep mode, this nook, according to B&N, will go 2 months with using it 30 minutes a day (wi-fi off). We'll see about that.
  • No browser. The nook browser was very painful and slow, so that probably isn't a big loss.
  • No apps. I predict that will change.  You apps will appear in the library as content "that can't be used".

In my opinion this new nook is THE eInk device to buy. I've been telling my friends to get the new Kindle or the nook Color, but now my recommendation is all nook.  It's got everything the Kindle does in a smaller form factor. B&N has a great comparision chart you should check out if you are comparision shopping. DO NOT waste your money on a nook 1st edition. The battery life, screen, & user interface crushes the original nook!

You can order ONLINE with free shipping but you can also get these in the store. The trick is to call when they open to get unclaimed reserved devices they are supposed to sell them at opening the day after they are unclaimed. If you call before they close just ask if they'll have any at open. My B&N was nice enough to put me on a backup list which I was told not what corporate instructed (I didn't complain).

Hope this was helpful, any questions?


The All New Nook

newnook Yup, it's an eInk. You didn't really believe the stories about a 10" tablet did you? Remember B&N is a bookstore and this is a gateway to your book-loving-heart.  Last month I predicted an updated eInk touchscreen device in the low hundred range - and I was right on the money (well I was $20 off).

First off, if you are considering buying a nook 3G or nook WiFi forget it. The battery life won't be as good, the contrast isn't going to be close, and the interface will be far superior on the new nook. What makes this new nook special?

1) Improved eInk display. Like the newer Kindle and Kobo reader this is a next generation device with better contrast and superior clarity. 

2) Great Form Factor. It's an 8 ounce device with a 6" display. It's not square it just looks square-ish because it lacks a keyboard or touchscreen at the bottom. This is "just right" in my opinion. I think the new nook will be very book like.

3) Great Battery Life.  Two months!? Well that's if you use it 30 minutes a day. What's impressive is how they could sustain the device for that long assuming 23.5 hours a day of sleep. I suspect the device is a fast boot or that spec is only if you power it down. I'll believe you can get 30 hours of reading, I'm just not sure about not plugging it in for 60 days. I'll let you know how my experience goes.

4) Great software.  I think B&N's nook Color and android/iOS apps are quite good and suspect that legacy will be apparent on this device. Amazon's whispersync is still far more reliable from my experience but the new nookFriends and other features will make this device software feel very complete. I'll be interested to see how much of the "App" concept comes to this device. I suspect this will be very eReader focused compared to the nook Color. Now matter what balance they strike between the classic nook and the nook Color the new nook will make the old nook look really old! One huge software bump would be if you could do OverDrive on the device (don't hold your breath).

5) Price. It's priced "just right" to complete with the new touchscreen Kobo and right in the zone with Amazon. $139 with free shipping.

Good news for B&N eBook owners that want a nice new eInk device and passed on the nook Color. I think owners of this device will be far happier with it than the original nook.


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