Earlier this week, the folks at Barnes and Noble released their brand-new touch-enabled Nook to consumers to take a peek at for the first time; a day earlier, Borders also released its new Kobo eReader with similar specs to the former.
With the releases come a slew of claims and features that we will put to the test in our lab when we get our hands on these, but among the standouts are:
80% less flashing on page turns
Remember the "dip to black" effect that plague the Kindles, Nook and Kobo eReader? Barnes & Noble claim to have found a way to reduce this annoying effect on their shiny new Nook.
Zeforce infrared touch screen
Okay, we'd be lying if we didn't admit that this might be a cool feature for an eInk display, as these haven't made the rounds here yet. Adding touch interfacing seems like a good idea, and both the new Nook and the new Kobo Touch have this.
Battery charge lasting up to 2 months
HATS, our testing robot, isn't a fan of his grueling servitude, and he may grow to hate the new Nook. Still, we're interested to see how long the battery actually lasts.
Increased processor performance
Both the Kobo Touch and the new Nook have improved processors that allow the touch screen performance to work at a respectable speed, and even add more features.
Don't know what a syzygy is? Can't piece together what the heck an antipode might be? Simply select the text using the touchscreen on the Kobo Touch and look it up using Merriam Webster's Dictionary. This is a neat feature which may make reading textbooks in the eBook format a lot easier.
As far as the devices themselves go, the new Nook will be running a monochrome version of Android 2.1 and will allow users to install a pared-down selection of apps selected for the new Nook. The device will support EPUB and PDF files on its 2GB of internal memory, with the option of expanding it with a micro SD card, and users will be able to get new books via any WiFi connection (that allows access).
The Kobo eReader Touch edition will have 1GB of internal memory, expandable up to 32GB using the microSD card slot on the unit. Like the Nook, the Kobo Touch will support EPUB and PDF files, along with open standards. Like the Nook, you will be able to use any available WiFi connection to download new books.
We're very interested to see how the touch screen enhances the experience of eInk-screened tablet readers, and each model promises page navigation much like that found on the iPad and the other Android tablets like the Xoom.
Both eReaders are set to ship before Father's Day 2011, with the Nook costing $139 and the Kobo eReader Touch with a pricetag of $129.