The electronic reading market is moving up a gear and e-book readers are having to crank up features and tweak performance and interfaces in order to compete with the multifunctional units, which incorporate an e-book reader app, like the iPad, which sold almost a million units in the first month.
Being aware of the rising pressure specific e-book reader units are under to provide a more seamless `streaming experience, Barnes and Noble have launched a third firmware update expanding the Nook e-book reader and re-modeling it as the “crème de la crème” of this increasingly popular market.
Since Barnes and Noble launched the Nook e-reader late last year there have been reports of some serious limitations to its functionality. In response to these limitations B&N introduced the new firmware version 1.3, which once installed, provides for more substantial, improved and seamless electronic book reading, setting it pages apart the Amazon Kindle, the Nook’s most direct rival.
One the 1.3 update is installed new icons will appear on the colour display window – Wi-Fi, Audio, Web and Games, which enables users to access features with greater speed and ease.
One unique improvement of the Nook’s 1.3 update is that it gives owners the ability to read any e-book within the B&N library for free. There is however some serious drawbacks to the new “Read in Store” feature. Having to be physically inside a Barnes and Noble store to take advantage of this free service is one, as it counts out those Nook owners who do not live within a realistic proximity of a B&N store. Once a Nook owner has located a B&N store and is sitting comfortably inside it, the user is limited to just one hour a day of ‘free reading’ – not long when you consider how fast time goes when your head is buried in a book. Although users are allowed to reconvene their title the following day for another 60 minutes, alternatively they could pick up a copy of the actual book in store and read it at their leisure. Or would that be far too passé?
Surfing the net on the Nook is vastly improved with the 1.3 firmware as it offers both a Wi-Fi network as well as the original 3G network, Wi-Fi obviously generating greater Internet speed and efficiency than the 3G. Also aiding the efficiency of the Nook’s e-reading experience is that the new version is more reliant on fixing certain bugs, including a freezing problem, which was a commonly reported problem with the original Nook e-reader. With the eradication of such bugs page turns are reported to be faster, a definite improvement in the quest for flawless electronic reading.
Why is it avid readers are often associated with the game of chess? Two Android games, chess and sudoku are also addition features of the 1.3 firmware.
Despite the fact that this is the Nook’s third firmware upgrade, which provides arguably long overdue features and improved functionalities, for now B&N are sticking with the price of $259 (approximately 170 pounds) – a snippet of a price for avid book lovers but an expensive no-no for the more dispassionate about books.