New photos and information about Barnes & Noble’s rumored e-reader have surfaced on tech blog Gizmodo, detailing a device seemingly tailored to match the functionality and form-factor of rival Amazon.com’s Kindle.
According to Gizmodo, which obtained information and photos from what it claims is an internal source, the device will feature a 6-inch e-ink display “with an 800×600 pixel resolution.” In addition, it will feature an iPhone-like multitouch display underneath the e-ink one, for navigating through and purchasing books.
Photos supposedly of the e-reader can be found on Gizmodo’s site. The casing also features mechanical next/previous page buttons, along with buttons for search, home, and what could be user profile, as well as one-push access to the Barnes & Noble eBookstore. Launched in July, the online storefront includes 700,000 books and 500,000 free public-domain books from Google, with the number of titles expected to increase to 1 million within a year of its launch.
The rumor-mill surrounding the Barnes & Noble e-reader has been gearing up steadily over the past few weeks, with the Wall Street Journal and others receiving supposed leaks about the device’s form-factor and functionality. Sources earlier informed Gizmodo that the e-reader would use the Google Android operating system, which would give it access to both Wi-Fi connectivity and applications.
Barnes & Noble has sent invitations to an Oct. 20 event in New York City, which many are expecting to be official announcement of the device.
The choice of New York City to host such an event could be a deliberate swipe at Amazon.com, which chose the city for high-profile launches of both the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX. Those events, headlined by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos and featuring literary celebrities such as Stephen King, may have contributed to initially strong Kindle sales.
Although Bezos has customarily declined to break out exact figures, he has previously claimed that Kindle-related sales bring in 35 percent of his company’s book-related revenue.
The new e-reader would represent yet another competitive threat to Amazon.com, whose Kindle device has dominated much of the public mindshare devoted to e-readers. Perhaps recognizing the rise of competitive threats, Amazon.com moved on Oct. 7 to slash prices on the original Kindle device. A version of the e-reader that can wirelessly download material in the United States and 100 other countries now retails for $279, while the U.S.-downloads-only version costs $259.
Amazon.com’s international customers will have access to roughly 200,000 English-language books and over 85 U.S. and international magazines and newspapers.
International downloading for the Kindle will be hosted by AT&T. Previous versions of the Kindle, including the 9.7-inch-screen Kindle DX, will continue to use Sprint. Barnes & Noble, obviously, has made no official announcements as to which wireless provider will handle downloads for their e-reader.
Both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, along with other e-reader manufacturers such as Sony and Plastic Logic, face potential competition from Apple’s much-rumored tablet PC< which may offer digital books or other media through the iTunes store.