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.