Barnes & Noble is set to launch a full-color Nook that runs on Google's Android operating system. While nothing has been confirmed--at least until the company's "very special event" which we'll be covering soon--several sources have indicated the bookseller will introduce the device--one that could mark the end of e-readers as we know it.
After all, what is an e-reader? It's not a tablet. Its main function is to display simple text--books, newspapers, magazines--rather than video or games or the Web. And it must be incredibly mobile--that is, light. These features are some of the main reasons Apple's iPad hasn't quite become the Kindle- or Nook-killer many said it could be.
However, in order for the new version for the Nook to become an e-reader-killer, we must look to three central components: weight, battery life, and price. The iPad is heavy, not light enough to hold casually in one hand for an extended period of time. It is also has far less battery life than the Kindle or Nook (Steve Jobs, in its defense, argued that nobody was "going to read for 10 hours.") Most crucially, the iPad is expensive--starting at $499, compared to Amazon's and Barnes & Noble's price: around $140.
If B&N can show off a new Android-powered Nook, with as much functionality as Apple's product, at similar prices to the current version, no one will argue that it's an iPad-killer. They'll argue that it marks the death of the Kindle.
Stay tuned for more updates and pictures to come soon.