First of all some news concerning Barnes and Noble’s plans. In addition to the upcoming nook, last week’s most buzz-worthy gadget, B&N has announced via Twitter that they will also be carrying Plastic Logic’s Que “Business Class” Ebook Reader in Barne’s and Noble stores. The Que is a large screen device (8.5 x11) designed to go up against the Kindle DX and Sony Daily Reader. In addition to Ebooks, the Que can also display office documents. No word on price yet (more details are promised at CES in January) but if the nook is priced around $250 to measure up against the Kindle 2, expect the Que to be around $400 to match the Kindle DX. See a B&N Press Release about the deal with lots of marketing babble HERE.
More new reader news, some incredible design work and some troubling details about the nook are emerging, after the jump.
First the nook…details are now leaking out about limitations to the nook’s much ballyhooed lending features. It seems that publishers are none too happy with the devices allowing people to lend purchased ebooks to other people so are doing their best to spike the feature. Reports are coming in of publishers not allowing part of their catalogues to be leant, or certain authors. As of now, expect hot new releases and the most popular authors to be unlendable. Deeply disappointing, and already a bad sign. B&N had already announced that to avoid some of the problems the Kindle 2 had with publishers and authors, you can listen to MP3s and audio books with the nook, but no text-to-speech features. At this point I fear the publishing community getting all RIAAish and new Ebook Readers being crippled to suit them.
Also, another early nook blunder. It seems that their promise of being able to walk into any of B&N’s 700 stores and walk out with a nook? Not. All B&N storefronts will get a demo model, but only a select few will actually stock the devices for sale. Instead, buyers are being steered online, to the point that when you order a nook in a store that doesn’t have in stock, the clerk will order one for you from their website for delivery to your door…just like you could do from home. I have always felt that one of the things that kept getting in the way of the Kindle was denying people the cash and carry buying experience. Pay and Wait is the internet way it seems, but just ain’t much fun. No word on how many stores will carry the vast array of groovy nook covers. Hopefully B&N (or users) will be posting a list of those stores that will actually have the device in stock.
UPDATE: And they say web activism is pointless….HA! I got this tweet from Barnes and Noble a couple hours ago…
Good news indeed…thanks for listening, nookies.
New readers are also being mentioned at Digitimes. Our favorite Taiwanese rumormongers are reporting that MSi (makers of the Wind among other things) are giving out more details about their promised Ebook reader…and they are saying it will be Tegra based. That is great news and should bring some interesting capabilities to the device. However MSi Chairman Joseph Hsu admitted the device is having serious developments problems, so we won’t hear any more details about it until the first half of 2010. If that is the case, then we likely won’t see any actual production models (IF we see production models) until 2011.
Asustek’s CEO Jerry Shen, never one to be outdone at rumour leaking, has stated that Asus is going ahead with an Eee Ebook Reader, and that a 9 inch gray scale model will be released soon, but in “limited quantities and targeting niche markets”…whatever that means. I would expect Asus is planning on releasing the first device, considering the screen size, to the educational and text book market first. Shen said a consumer model will follow sometime in Q1/2010. No word from him on the color displays or dual screens Asus was promising in August…or the fact that they promised to come in with the cheapest Ebook Reader yet. Silence is golden, Mr. Shen?
One other Asian PC company, Gigabyte, has stated that they will NOT be following other companies into the Ebook Reader or Smartbook markets, continuing to focus on notebooks, netbooks and components.
Lastly I came across a prototype design for an Ebook Reader last week that completely blew me away…Behold the Bibliofile (clever name) as designed by Nadeem Haidary
The folding panel on the side is used to turn pages on the main display as well as being a touchscreen where notes can be taken using the included stylus and additional applications such as an MP3 player can be controlled. The page turning motion generates the power that keeps the battery topped off. Very slick idea and very sexy design. I would love to see something like this make it to market as a high end Reader. Check out more of Haidary’s design and his methodology HERE.