It appears that not only were the rumors from a few months ago about a WiFi only version of the popular Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) nook true, but that the price wars have had an effect. The new nook comes to us at a mere $149, which, as far as I know, makes it the first eReader at that price to have wireless connectivity. The exclusion of the 3G coverage changes very little about the device beyond making it half an ounce lighter and being signified by a back cover in white instead of gray.
At the same time as this release, we see a drop in the price of the full-featured nook model to just $199. Considering B&N has managed to provide a good deal of competition for the market leading Kindle even when they shared a price point, these options could well give them a short-term edge until Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) manages to get out the thinner, wirelessly compatible model being talked about for this fall.
On top of the new release and price cut, current owners of the nook eReader will be pleased to note the v1.4 software upgrade released today. Most importantly, for travelers wanting to go for the new nook model, it adds free and seamless connectivity to all ATT(NYSE:T) hotspots around the country. The included additional large font size is likely a useful option for many as well. Finally, and my favorite feature of the list, 1.4 adds in a “go to page” feature, which allows for better and more precise navigation of eBooks. This is especially important when reading a poorly constructed eBook across two devices since the B&N software does not track what page you last read back to your nook, nor do many free books have working chapter bookmarks.
All this makes August even more vital for Amazon. It’s going to be interesting to see what they come up with to jump to the front again.