Nook Color e-reader is receiving a major update today which brings a wider selection of Android apps to the tablet, plus an email client, faster Web browsing and support for Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR technologies.B&N's
The update will also deliver an upgrade to the tablet's base operating system, bringing it a newer version of Android - Android 2.2, code-named "Froyo." While this is not the most current version of Android available at present, it's less of a concern here because the tablet runs its own user interface designed specifically for e-reading.
Nook Color Gets More Apps!
The new "Nook Apps" feature expands the Nook Color's previous paltry selection of apps to include many popular titles in categories like "Children," "Education & Reference," "Entertainment," "Games," "Health & Fitness," "Lifestyle & Interests," "News & Weather," "Productivity," and "Tools & Utilities." Barnes and Noble says more categories will arrive in the future.
Some of the notable new apps available now include the ubiquitous and in-demand game Angry Birds, as well as the Pulse news reader, Epicurious, Dr. Seuss apps, Uno, Drawing Pad, Lonely Planet phrasebooks and other from Chronicle Books, Condé Nast, Concrete Software, Gameloft, Goodreads, Loud Crow Interactive, my6sense, The National Geographic Society, NAMCO, Wordnik and more. Some of the apps are free, and some are paid, as is standard in today's app stores.
With the paid apps, B&N splits the revenue generated with app developers 70 (developers)/30 (B&N), as is also a standard practice in the industry today.
Email Added & Web Browsing Improved
The software update now brings a dedicated email client which supports POP3 and webmail services like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. While the tablet itself does not support Microsoft Exchange-based email, there is a third-party application which does.
The Web browsing experience has been improved with this update, too, says B&N, with webpages that load faster, have improved gesture support and offer the ability to switch between the standard and the mobile-optimized views. Adobe Flash Player 10.1 has been added as well, allowing users to watch online videos or other Flash content while browsing.
Early tests of the Flash Player by Engadget found there to be noticeable lag times when playing videos or scrolling on pages with animations, however. But the version it tested was not final.
Finally, the core reading experience on the Nook Color has been improved, with small changes like better page-turning animations and support for landscape mode while e-reading. But there are bigger changes, too, like the support for interactive features in children's books, which introduces animations, audio, narration and more.
B&N is expanding its LendMe book loaning feature into a more social experience, where friends can see what each other is reading and make requests to borrow e-books.
The software update will be pushed out over W-Fi sometime in the next few weeks, but those who can't wait can get it today at http://nookcolor.com/update.