Nano Fondle: Barnes & Noble NookColor

Picking up the NookColor today elicited these reactions from me:

1) Wow, this thing is thin!
2) Wow, this is well-built!
3) Wow, that’s a hell of a screen!
4) Wow, it’s only $249?

But is it worth buying?

It’s nice, as I’ve said. I think it will appeal to a certain market:

1) Those who don’t like eInk but want an eBook reader tied to a bookstore
2) Those who want to upgrade their eInk Nooks
3) Some businesspeople looking for a cheap PDF reader (as long as it’s not Google Books PDFs!)
4) Barnes & Noble customers who’ve been waiting it all out

The book reading part seems solid enough, even if there are things to be worked out with type.

Magazines pop on it because the screen is sharp, nearly as sharp as an iPhone 4 Retina Display:

But the magazine thing also puzzled me. I looked at the size of the screen and I wondered, Would anyone buy a printed copy of National Geographic if it was this size? If you step back from the e-reading aspect into real life, there’s a weird dissonance there in terms of size. Magazines get shrunk to the size of pamphlets.

What it does to this blog is a bit funky:

And if you try to play that YouTube video, you get:

Everything seems to be well thought-out. But I come to it as a techie. I don’t know how intuitive it will seem to the general public. On the other hand, the manual is installed on it — and if they can’t figure out how to read that, they’re in trouble to begin with.

My only carp was the on-screen keyboard. It’s pretty, but I think the buttons could have stood just a little bit of enlarging. The contrast between the NookColor’s pretty but smallish keyboard and the larger but fugly stock Android keyboard on the Samsung Galaxy Tab was a bit startling. The Galaxy Tab’s keyboard was easier to use but unpleasant to look at.

I’m not sure this will ever undergo a jailbreak. Barnes & Noble has so customized the interface that I wonder if any stock Android programs can ever run on it at all. This is sort of a tablet for soccer moms, in some ways. And it is what Barnes & Noble has said: A reading tablet. As Jane Litte points out in her review, if you come to this thinking you’re getting a bargain Android tablet, you will be disappointed.

Update: Reference: How To Root A NookColor — as it turns out, it does pretty well rooted, minus the B&N pretty UI.

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1 Comment

Filed under Android, Barnes & Noble Nook

One response to “Nano Fondle: Barnes & Noble NookColor

  1. gous

    No question that this will be rooted, probably before the end of the year.At the xda forums they are going at it hammer and tongs.
    I believe there has been pictures of Nook techs running standard apps so we know it can be done.

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