Sometimes it takes a giant to bring down a giant...
US mega book chain Barnes & Noble has officially announced its much anticipated eBook reader which will compete head on with Amazon's immensely popular Kindle. The curiously named 'nook' takes a very different approach to the Kindle opting for a dual e-ink and colour LCD display, the latter working like a virtual bookshelf to allow swiping through titles via book covers.
Like the Kindle you'll find 3G and WiFi for downloading titles (free 3G via AT&T and WiFi will be provided in B&N stores), while there's also 2GB of native storage plus a microSD expansion slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack and mono speaker. Format support covers EPUB and eReader along with PDF, MP3, Jpeg, Gif, Png and BMP. Battery life is quoted as up to 10 days without WiFi and charging can be done over micro USB.
Where the nook misses out compared to the Kindle is a strange omission of text-to-speech and increased weight (317g vs. 289g), though considering all its extra features the Kindle 2 matching $259 RRP looks pretty good value for money.
Ultimately, however, the irony in all this is having waited nearly a year for the international Kindle launch, the next company to carry the torch is a US only firm. As such UK availability of the nook seems a distant hope at present unless it plans a sudden global expansion.
Chin up, given the current trend it probably won't be long before we see a Waterstone's eBook reader - though that doesn't really inspire the same confidence, does it?