Report: Barnes & Noble expected to introduce ebook next week

Barnes & Noble is expected to introduce its own ebook next week, according to Gizmodo, which posted information on the device.

Gizmodo revealed that most of the device, which is rumored to run on the Android platform, will sport a traditional e-ink display, similar to the Amazon Kindle, but the bottom portion of the device will incorporate an LCD color display with multi-touch technology. The display will be used to browse through book titles.

"The choice of two different screens (and techs) on one device serves to overcome the shortcomings in e-ink, which lacks of richness and interactivity; and LCD's eyestrain and battery drain," the report said. "(The LCD will remain inactive while books are being read.) Contrast this with the Kindle which uses the e-ink display to emulate a slow menu system and requires a physical keyboard for searching. Likewise, Sony's e-ink readers with touch screens layers have reduced visibility."

The hardware has buttons for flipping pages, searching, buying books, and connecting to social networking sites. The new device is believed to have a lending feature that will allow friends to share books and post excerpts to sites like Facebook and Twitter. "But that may be cut before launch," Gizmodo said.

The Street.com reported in April that Barnes & Noble is collaborating with a Sprint and an unidentified manufacturer to develop an ebook reader to battle rival Amazon.com's bestselling Kindle. B&N reportedly turned to Sprint as an operator partner after negotiations with Verizon Wireless broke down; sources suggest AT&T may be in the running as well. (Kindle content is delivered to the device via Whispernet, which utilizes Amazon's optimized technology in combination with Sprint's national 3G data network.)

In March 2009, Barnes & Noble acquired digital book retailer Fictionwise for $15.7 million--weeks later, Fictionwise announced the beta test release of eReader for BlackBerry, a free ebook application optimized for the Research In Motion device portfolio. The eReader software was previously available for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch as well as Symbian and Windows Mobile smartphones.

In July, AT&T announced a new WiFi agreement with retailer Barnes & Noble to offer free WiFi to all of the store's shoppers, not just AT&T customers. The deal also includes an ebook component whereby WiFi users, along with iPhone and BlackBerry users, will be able to access 700,000 Barnes & Noble ebooks.

For more:
- see this Gizmodo post

Related articles:
Barnes & Noble to launch Android-powered ereader
AT&T makes unique WiFi deal with Barnes & Noble; sees surge in hotspot usage

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