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bn reader gal

Illustration for article titled bn reader gal

The first screen is an 6-inch e-ink display with an 800x600 pixel resolution. That's standard for e-books, with this screen having similar refresh and contrast as the second generation Kindle's. The second display, however, is as wide as the e-ink display but is a multitouch LCD that is meant to be used as the sole interface for browsing swiftly through colored book covers (like Apple's coverflow, but books instead of of Album art) and buying "rather than forcing eink do things it was not made for." It is 480x144 pixels in size and has a resolution of 150dpi.

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Illustration for article titled bn reader gal


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 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 touchscreens layers have reduced visibility. The B&N reader has none of these issues. [editor's note: In theory.]

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Illustration for article titled bn reader gal

The interface has a few buttons. According to photos below, there are two sets of next/previous page buttons, as the Kindle has. But there are also buttons for search, home, "BN" which it is safe to assume is for accessing the store, and a back button. There's also an icon for a person, with a dot under it, which is for user profile, important for the device's social networking hooks. The reader is expected to have book lending features between friends and publishing of excerpts on facebook and twitter, but that may be cut before launch.

Illustration for article titled bn reader gal

The carrier attached to the reception bars at the top of those photos might be Verizon or Sprint, but Barnes and Nobles, wise to Amazon's international plans ahead of the public (corporate espionage!) may have gone with a carrier more capable of bringing their books internationally, more naturally, meaning a GSM carrier. I'm unsure.

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Illustration for article titled bn reader gal

Pricing is yet unknown, but no matter what, it was planned to be sold at less than the price of a Kindle, with the majority of revenue made up through book sales.

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DISCUSSION

If only they could have bumped the resolution up from the oh-so-standard 800x600 to perhaps 1024x768, then pdf and comic viewing on this would be more bearable. Not really convinced that we need the color LCD strip... do we really need to browse book covers in color? The multitouch navigation feature would be helpful, but it doesn't really mesh since scrolling and zooming will still be limited to e-ink speeds. But it is exciting that it's not another re-packaging of the same old e-ink display. Perhaps you can get this reader for $100 and the LCD strip will be used for ad banners...