After being desperate for an e-reader for the past 8 months I finally broke down and got me a fairly-new Barnes & Noble nook color from ebay. (Saved a hundred bucks in the process too). I like the idea of reading color magazines, newspapers, websites and books all on one device — my main reason for choosing it over the more popular Amazon Kindle. I also like that I can read it at night without a flashlight, which was key for me since I don’t get a chance to read out on the beach or during the day as most Kindle ads show you. Honestly, my only time to get some reading done is late at night before sleep. I can’t think of any other time I can do it. And so far, I’m thrilled and happy to have it and find ways to read more — the whole purpose of an e-reader after all.
Considering it runs Android’s OS, though, there are many who have taken the nook color and unlocked it (the term is “rooted”) to run as a more all-around Android tablet. There’s reasons for Barnes & Noble to not want to do that. Primarily because it is not in the tablet business and putting out a product that has to compete with the iPad and the other Android tablets is a sure-fire way of getting crushed.
That said, they do offer some apps for customers to use — from wallpaper apps to famous apps like Pandora and Angry Birds. So they could (and I recommend should) offer some of the following as they can be offered without hurting the nook color’s overall purpose as an e-reader. And yes, I do understand that some of these apps may not be available from the Android Market just yet.
Read It Later: this is the app that got me thinking about the whole list. If you have it for your iPhone/iPad, you know how great it is. In short, it stores saved web articles and pages for you to read at a later, more convenient time. This is the kind of app that the nook color should have as it goes to the core of its purpose: reading.
RSS Feeds Reader: this is one that surprises me isn’t available from Android Market. I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses a RSS Feeds Reader for keeping up to date with favorite blogs. And while the great Pulse News app is available for the nook color, sometimes a simpler, text-only option would be nice.
Cracked: come on now. What is the point of an e-reader if you can’t get a comedy app like Cracked in it? The internet comedy site is one of those “love ’em or hate ’em” websites for many, but when they’re funny, it’s awesome. And given most of their work is written, this app should find an easy home here.
Marvel/DC/xComics: now let’s take advantage of the nook color’s capabilities. After all, most books, newspapers or magazine articles can be enjoyed just as easily on an e-ink reader (like the Kindle or nook Touch) as they can on the nook Color. But comic books have to be in lush, impressive color. The blue of Superman’s uniform shouldn’t be the same color as Wolverine’s yellow uniform.
Wikipedia: Now this one should be basic. How often do you stop at Wikipedia to find something on a topic you just learned? And while the credibility of Wikipedia is a never-ending source of comedy for Internet comedians, the fact remains that Wikipedia is the first stop for people looking for information on the Internet.
Blog apps (WordPress/Blogger): This might go further than most of the other apps because this one allows interaction. To be fair, Seesmic does the same thing to connect nook color owners to various social media sites. So, why not let blog owners a chance to update their blogs and comment or review a book that they just finished without having to switch devices?
iStudiez Pro: this one is a favorite of mine as a graduate student and I’m sure it’d come in handy for students at all levels. You get to put in your class schedule, information for professors, keep up to date with assignments due via their calendar and stay on top of grades for work that’s been turned in. If we’re turning towards e-textbooks, why not have an app that helps students?
There’s rumors around that Amazon will soon debut a color-version of their Kindle. It’ll be interesting to see how Barnes & Noble answers that challenge. Maybe by taking advantage of their Android-connection, the nook color can stare down the Kindle’s advances.