Owners of Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Color Reader already have one of the best reading gadgets on the market, with access to over 2 million books, 150 interactive magazines and newspapers, and more than 12,000 children’s chapter and picture books. With a recent upgrade, NOOK Color owners may have one of the best tablets on the market, thanks to Barnes & Noble upgrading the NOOK Color to Android OS 2.2/Froyo. This upgrade includes a number of popular Android apps, email support, an enhanced Web experience, and new rich content for adults and children. The cost of the NOOK Color is staying the same at just $249, which makes it an affordable alternative to the iPad.
The NOOK Color upgrade is a response to what Barnes & Noble customers wanted: access to popular apps on the reader, built-in email, and an interactive experience. Once existing users upgrade, they can play many of the games popular on other Android devices, including Angry Birds and Uno, as well as stream music from Pandora. NOOK Color users can also check email on their NOOK Color using Nook Email; the device supports many popular email services including Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and Hotmail. One of the best new features with this upgrade is the ability to go social with the NOOK Color. With the NOOK Friends app you can swap books with friends, get recommendations, and view friends’ reviews using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. (While there is no Facebook app yet, NOOK Color users can access Facebook Mobile using the NOOK Color’s Web browser.)
It’s important to note that the NOOK Color’s upgrade to Android does not make it a full-blown Android tablet. Google’s Android App Market is missing, though you can download apps from the Shop on NOOK Color, which contains complementary apps, including calendar and note apps, alongside books, magazines, and other content. The Shop also features 125 favorite NOOK apps from leading third-party developers and content providers in categories including Play, Organize, Learn, Explore, Lifestyle, News, and Kids. While some features and functionality of familiar Android tablets may be lacking in the upgraded NOOK Color, these features may just turn the NOOK Color into the epitome of a casual use tablet. If you don’t need to do a lot of heavy lifting with a tablet (and by that, I mean “work”), then this just might be the perfect tablet for everyday (or really, every evening) use at a very reasonable and appropriate cost.
If you have a NOOK Color, you can upgrade immediately by downloading at www.nookcolor.com/update. A free over-the-air (OTA) update will begin rolling out to customers via Wi-Fi over the next few weeks.