Barnes and Noble promised quite a few features when their nook eBook reader came out last year. It took a few software revisions for them to get all those features into the nook and now they've even added a few more cool ones. How nice to be pleasantly surprised this morning with the 1.3 update that adds a web browser and games!
Since the nook runs Android, you get that operating system's very capable webkit web browser that shames the WAP-like Kindle browser. There were several ways B&N could have designed the dual screen control system, and we suspected they'd go with the simple to impliment but painful to use software d-pad on the touch screen to navigate the upper display. Happily they did it a much better way where the lower display shows a portion of the web page while the upper screen shows the full web page. You interact with the web page using the lower touch screen's rendering of the web page.
Now that's not easy to imagine, so we've put together a video that shows you how the new web browser works. We also cover the two new games, Sudoku and Chess.
Other new features and improvements include speedier page turns (they really are faster), quicker book loading for books you've opened before and the long ago promised read in store feature where you can read books and periodicals available in the nook online store on the device to your heart's content while you're sitting in a B&N store with the eReader connected to B&N's WiFi.
All in all, we're quite pleased with the latest nook review and it's sort of like getting a new device thanks to these cool new apps and features. Clearly Barnes & Noble is keeping the war alive against the Kindle, the upcoming Alex (nook's cousin from Spring Design) and to a less extent, the iPad.
A few minor corrections to the 1.3 update you made to the nook review:
1) The "unlimited reading while in a Barnes & Noble store" isn't really unlimited. You can read any given e-book for up to an hour per day. You can come back the next day and continue, but you'll be started at the front cover and have to page through one click at a time until you get to where you left off. B&N does not promise that all e-books will be available.
2) The new browser (currently) does not allow you to download files. It can't be used to obtain e-books from other sites like the Kindle can.
3) The update reportedly makes the dictionary reasonably functional.
Not related to the update:
E-books bought at B&N are delivered in Secure eReader (PDB) format when downloaded to your computer. This allows them to be used with Fictionwise and eReader reader software on a variety of devices, and on the ECTACO Jetbook Lite e-reader. Those same e-books will usually be delivered in the (currently) nook-specific EPUB w/B&N DRM format when downloaded wirelessly to the nook although, as the review notes, sometimes you might get Secure eReader there, too.
The review notes the activation/authorization limits on Adobe's DRM (although I believe the limit is 6 reader devices). It is possible to deactivate a computer with CTRL-SHIFT-D in Adobe Digital Editions--Mac users translate the keystrokes as appropriate. However, doing that does not affect those limits. You get to do six computer activations and six device authorizations, and deactivating and deauthorizing don't count. That's to keep you from switching accounts willy-nilly in order to read secured e-books obtained from all over. Adobe does expect that people will be hitting the limits as computers and devices are replaced; just go to the ADE support page http://www.adobe.com/support/digitaleditions/ and click "Submit a web case", then request more activations or authorizations as needed. As long as you're not abusing the system, Adobe seems to be glad to grant the extras quite quickly. Do not attempt to use phone support; use that Web page for this request.