Barnes & Noble released their first major software update (v1.3) for the Nook which added several exciting features for e-reader fans. Read in Store, a feature announced back at launch, is now available when inside a Barnes & Noble store. Users can read any section of any e-book for free (but only 1 hour per day).
The Nook also received its first Android apps. A new games section includes versions of sudoku and chess. Neither game was that impressive to me, but what do you expect on an e-ink display? At least B&N is developing some games and should expand the lineup in the future.
Finally a beta web browser was added which lets users visit their favorite sites and read email. The touch screen at the bottom of the Nook is used for scrolling and zooming, while the e-ink display shows a larger view of the site. Performance was a little sluggish and features were limited, but it’s a nice bonus for existing Nook owners.
Other enhancements included an overall performance boost, faster page turns, touch screen improvements, and easier navigation. The main UI received a refresh and shortcuts were added to the audio player and WiFi settings.
Overall, I was really impressed with the update. It took around five minutes to install and I’ve experienced no problems at all. Several of the new features are clearly marked beta, which is a good sign more updates are coming. I would really love to see B&N release a Nook SDK so the community can begin to build some apps and then think about an app store.
YouTuber weggingt uploaded a video walk-through of the new features.
Highlights of the software upgrade include:
- The breakthrough Read In Store experience, now in beta, which allows you to read complete eBooks in Barnes & Noble stores.
- Sudoku and Chess
- Wi-Fi® connectivity in more hotspots and a beta basic Web browser. Plus, additional reading and performance improvements, such as faster page turns and an enhanced home screen.