News Analysis: Barnes & Noble has released a major update to the Color Nook. But the enhancements are not nearly enough to justify buying a Nook instead of a Kindle or an iPad 2.
When it comes to the e-reader market, there are just a few major players, including the Amazon Kindle, the Sony Reader and Apple's iPad. The Barnes & Noble Nook Color delivers, as one might guess-color content, which isn't available in its closest competitor, the Kindle. That key element has helped the Nook Color catch on with consumers. It has also helped it give its competition a real fight.
On Apr. 25, Barnes & Noble upped the ante a bit
by announcing a major update to the Nook Color, featuring Android 2.2 "Froyo," and support for Adobe Flash. In addition, the company said that it has opened up a developer program, so firms can develop third-party applications for the combined e-reader-tablet.
With this new update, many more people in the market for an e-reader or tablet are wondering which device they should buy. They want to know if the Nook Color really is the best option, thanks to Froyo, or if they should opt for something else.
Though not every customer is the same, for the average person, opting for a Kindle or iPad is a much better choice right now.
Read on to find out why.
1. It doesn't seem focused.
Now that the Nook Color is running Froyo, consumers might be a little confused. Is it still an e-reader with tablet-like features or a tablet with e-reader features? Worst of all, is it both an e-reader and tablet mixed into one? Until Barnes & Noble can figure out what the Nook Color is first and foremost
, and properly communicate that to customers, most consumers will likely stick with what they know-the iPad or the Kindle.
2. Is Froyo really best?
When talk first surfaced last year that tablet makers would soon deliver Android tablets running Froyo, Google quickly followed with its own admission that Android 2.2 just wasn't ready for tablets. That's the main reason vendors waited until Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" to release their devices. Now, the Nook Color is running Froyo. Thus, potential buyers must really consider whether the device is best-suited for an operating system that's designed with smartphones in mind.
3. The iPad has apps from other stores.
One of the main reasons many customers choose the iPad 2 over the Barnes & Noble Nook Color is that it delivers the best selection of books
. Aside from Apple's iBooks selection, consumers can also download the free Kindle or Barnes & Noble applications and get titles through those services. The same can't be said for the Barnes & Noble Nook Color.
4. The Kindle offers an outstanding reading experience.
As anyone who has owned an Amazon Kindle knows, reading on the device is quite pleasant. The device's e-ink technology is second to none when it comes to reading, and dealing with eye fatigue is hardly an issue. The Nook Color offers a nice reading experience, as well, but it can't quite match the Kindle. And until it does, consumers might be better off looking elsewhere for their e-reading needs.