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Sunday, April 25, 2010
Barnes & Noble Updates Its e-Reader to Take on IPad

US bookstore giant Barnes & Noble announced more features for its NOOK eBook Reader, including the Read In Store experience (in beta) to browse complete eBooks in Barnes & Noble stores at no cost, as well as games, Wi-Fi connectivity and a basic Web browser.

The new features, along with additional reading and device performance optimization, such as faster page turns and an enhanced home screen, are part of NOOK v1.3 software, which is now available.

In Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK automatically connects to the fast and free Wi-Fi where NOOK customers can tap on the Shop button to now enjoy the beta Read In Store feature.

NOOK customers can explore the content of as many digital titles as they wish, on any given day, including any available eBook for up to an hour per day; and to come, current-edition newspapers and magazines in the BN eBookstore will be available for up to 20 minutes per day.

Other updates NOOK customers will enjoy with v1.3 software include:

- Barnes & Noble has continued to optimize NOOK's performance with improved page turn speed, faster access to previously opened eBooks, enhanced color touch screen navigation and more.

- Games: From eBooks to rooks, play Chess against NOOK with one of three levels of difficulty, or get puzzled with Sudoku, choosing from four levels of play. Control the game using the color touch screen as the game board appears on the E Ink display.

- Wi-Fi connectivity: In addition to Barnes & Noble bookstores and other Wi-Fi hotspots, enjoy high-speed connectivity in even more places, such as those that require access to additional information through a Web browser including hotels and coffee shops.

- Basic Web browser (Beta): While connected via Wi-Fi, explore the Web and check Internet-based e-mail accounts on the E Ink display, while using the color touch screen for navigation and to access the virtual keyboard.

- Updated home screen: From the home menu (located on the lower color touch screen), get easy, direct access to existing features including Audio and Wi-Fi settings, as well as new features such as Games and beta Web browser.

NOOK v1.3 is now available via manual download at NOOKs connected to Wi-Fi will receive an automatic NOOK v1.3 update over the next week.

Amazon will also make its Kindle electronic book reader available at US retail giant Target later this year in a deal that marks the first time the device will be available anywhere other than the website.

The basic Kindle sells for 259 dollars, the same price as a Nook.

The moves come nearly three weeks after the US launch of the iPad, a table computer that lists rich electronic book reading as just one of its features.

Apple's iPad cheapest model is priced at 499 dollars.

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