Nook Tablet’s Larger Storage Offers Less Than Kindle Fire

In the eyes of many, the Kindle Fire didn’t have much of a chance of competing with Apple’s technically superior iPad tablet.  That remains to be seen in the longer term, of course, but for now it’s all just speculation.  Regardless, this shifts the focus of people watching for active competition to the Kindle vs Nook battle.  They have been ongoing rivals in the eReader world, of course, and now they both offer budget priced tablets that will do a lot more than help you read.

On paper the Nook Tablet is quite possibly the better device.  It has the same processing power, more RAM, and most importantly twice the local storage of the Kindle Fire.  This last alone was enough to get many people to declare it a clear winner before either device hit shelves.  Now that we can use them both side by side, the situation has drastically changed.

The Nook Tablet, despite having 16GB of storage space (~12GB available to users), severely restricts what users are able to do with that space.  To such a degree that the idea of purchasing the device as a video player without the intention of rooting it is fairly laughable.  Users will find that Barnes & Noble has chosen to allow a mere 1GB of storage for the loading of outside content.  While the remainder can be filled by anything B&N sells, the fact of the matter is that right now they don’t offer nearly enough content to justify the choice.

There is not, for example, a video store for the Nook Tablet.  Neither is there an MP3 service.  You can, of course, access services like Netflix or Pandora for all your media consumption needs, but should you desire to watch or listen to things that you yourself own already then chances are good there is a problem.  Basically the only thing available in any quantity besides apps, and the scarcity of Nook apps is another complaint to address at another time, is reading material.  It simply does not justify this.

While I think that anybody would agree that the Kindle Fire‘s 8GB on-board storage is one of its weak points, Amazon at least manages to expand your options.  Sure you might have trouble loading everything that you want onto the device at once, but you can always stream it or store in their provided cloud storage until it is needed.  This is in addition to also offering equally functional access to Netflix, Pandora, and basically everything else that the Nook Tablet is using to make up for its lack of media store integration.

What probably should have been a clear win for B&N has turned their device into a joke for many prospective buyers.  We can hope that as time goes on this will be changed via a software update of some sort since the Nook Tablet is honestly a decent piece of hardware for just $250.  It is ridiculous that to get any decent amount of storage space a new user should feel compelled to purchase a memory card when the drive is just sitting there more than half empty.

Kindle vs Nook: DC Debacle Spurs B&N To Dumb Move

It’s no real secret that Barnes & Noble has quickly come to depend on their Nook eReader line, which by extension means it isn’t really too surprising that they might overreact when that is threatened.  A recent spat with DC Comics over a limited term of Kindle Fire eComic distribution exclusivity for a segment of the publisher’s current titles has resulted in just such an overreaction, though, and their failure to see the mistake may well provide difficulties going forward.

The underlying complaint on the part of Barnes & Noble is that DC has had the audacity to offer eReader exclusivity on 100 or so titles to Amazon as a temporary means for Amazon to promote the Kindle Fire.  While there is no information yet, to the best of my knowledge, as to how long this deal will remain in place, both DC and Amazon have acknowledged that it is not intended to necessarily be a long term arrangement.

As a result, Barnes & Noble has pulled all DC titles from their stores.  This includes every physical copy of the Amazon digital exclusives from DC Comics.  No notice was given to customers initially, simply a blanket email to all stores requiring them to remove the books.  To pull the gist of the eventual published statement from the Brick & Mortar book giant: “Regardless of the publisher, we will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format.[…]To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms, and not have the eBook available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere, anytime.”

On the surface, one has to applaud the effort.  Maybe this was an instance of Amazon throwing their weight around that required a significant response from a major retailer to help publishers see that such behavior is unacceptable.  That sentiment lasts right up until the realization that at this time Barnes & Noble does not in any way offer electronic comic publications.

The chain has decided that they are so dedicated to the principal on this issue that they are willing to turn away customers at the door rather than allow Amazon’s Kindle Fire access to something the Nook Color has not even tried to exploit after a year on the market.  Now not only with B&N customers not be able to download their comics, they can’t get physical copies except through the B&N website.  Stores have even been instructed to turn away special orders.  No copy will be allowed to enter the store, no matter how much you want to give your money to Barnes & Noble.

In the end, I see this hurting nobody but B&N, their customers, and the creators of the works in question.  Nobody wins but Amazon and customers have one more reason to avoid dealing with anybody else.  While this could have been quickly remedied with a quiet apology for initial overreaction, there is no excuse for letting it continue and treating customers this poorly, especially at a time when they are faced with a superior competing product.

Barnes & Noble Targets Kindle Fire With New Nook Tablet

With the Kindle Fire making such an impression on the Tablet PC marketplace, Barnes & Noble has been placed in a tough spot.  They are quickly coming to rely on their Nook product line and such a thorough triumph over their popular Nook Color would certainly be a tough blow to take.  They had to either put out something big or be left behind.  Fortunately, they’ve managed to come up with an answer.

The new Nook Tablet (that’s it’s name, not a generic designation) amounts to basically a point by point comparison to the Kindle Fire and may go a fair way toward explaining some of the popular bookseller’s more unexpected moves lately.  Here’s what we know so far:

Specs:

Display: 7″ VividView IPS LCD Multi- Touch
1024 x 600, 169 PPI
Processor: 1GB Dual-Core TI OMAP4 Processor
Memory: 1GB
Storage: 16GB Internal (~12GB Available)
Expandable Storage Slot via microSD Up To 32GB
Free Cloud Storage via Nook Cloud
Audio: Stereo Speakers w/ Mic
Dimensions: 8.1″ x 5.0″ x 0.48″
Weight: 14.1 ounces
Battery Life: Up To 11.5 Hours Reading
Up To 9 Hours Video Playback
3 Hour Charge Time
Bundled Apps: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and More
Price: $249
Release Date: 11 / 18 / 2011

Selling Points

Sounds a lot like the Kindle Fire, even if it looks identical to the existing Nook Color.  It might be 25% more expensive, but for that money you get a device that’s lighter, faster, and holds more.  Sounds great, right?  The differences are not extreme.  You save about half an ounce in terms of weight, 6GB of usable internal storage space, and a bit more RAM.  Even the advertised battery life is just slightly better, offering perhaps 90 minutes more video playback time under ideal circumstances.

What Amazon has been pushing, however, is the media.  Barnes & Noble has not been able to offer comparable content so far for their Nook Color’s App Store, so it was important that they be able to bring something to the table here.  Bundling with Hulu and Netflix will go a long way toward making up for the lack of an integrated video store, of course.  That was the whole point of pushing them, despite the fact that they will also be available for the Kindle.  The bookstore is obviously pretty good already, and they’ve been at the color eBooks game a bit longer than Amazon so hopefully they have a good grasp on things there.  Even music is covered thanks to Pandora and other similar services.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is the idea of Nook Cloud Storage.  We don’t have many details on that yet, but it accomplishes another aspect of the Amazon comparison in a vague fashion.  Chances are good that this will not be available for anything besides content purchased through B&N, but that is just speculation so far.

Barnes & Noble is claiming to have a screen superior to that on the Kindle Fire.  It is honestly hard to assess right now since they’re somewhat invested in the comparison.  It might be advisable to reserve judgement on that point until a side by side comparison can be arranged.

They are also making a big deal out of their new Nook Comics line.  This could explain a great deal of why they got so dramatically and publicly upset over DC Comics forming an exclusive deal of any sort with Amazon in preparation for the Kindle Fire launch.  B&N is now boasting the largest collection of digital Marvel comics brought together so far for a single device.  It’s an accomplishment, though there is no notice of exclusivity and therefore no reason to believe this will be a major factor moving forward.

Probably drawing on the same sort of technology that allows for those comics, though, is a new Nook Book category called PagePerfect.  Going off of what information is currently around, this is less an imitation of the new Kindle Format 8 and more a proprietary PDF imitation.  Static formatting, zooming, scrolling, etc.  The only obvious difference is that Adobe isn’t involved.

 Which To Buy

Now that we have a couple of competing budget media tablets to choose from, which is worth the money?  It depends on your needs.  The Nook Color, and by extension the new Nook Tablet since it is just a more powerful version of the same, is primarily an eReader.  Barnes & Noble has done a fairly good job of shoring up their shortcomings by bringing in excellent integration with other content providers, there is no substitute for direct support and every reason to believe that those same providers will be serving up media to Kindle Fire customers as well.

The price is a bit off-putting, now that we’re talking about tablets cheap enough for $50 to make a big difference, but you do admittedly get more power for the price.  While claims about the screen quality remain unproven, the extra RAM will make a difference and additional on-board storage will be a big deal for some.

As usual, which device you go for will depend on your needs as a consumer.  At this point it seems that Amazon is offering a clearly superior library of media to choose from, especially if you take all types of media together. They’ve also done a great job, by most preliminary accounts, of customizing and streamlining their Android Fork to make the Kindle Fire both look unique and perform more impressively than its specs might indicate.

On the other hand, Barnes & Noble is offering what is arguably the better dollar to power ratio.  This will be most important for people wanting to root the device and just exploit its most basic hardware capabilities.  That might be a smaller percentage of the intended user base, but it is worth addressing.  The Nook Tablet also comes closer to offering a stock Android experience, for those who are concerned about potential privacy concerns related to Amazon’s Silk browser and other cloud based services.  They are also more focused on building up the color eReader market, and you can count on Barnes & Noble to maintain the eBook as their primary concern for the indefinite future.

The choice will be up to you and the distinctions are honestly fairly slight right now.  What is most important is that the Kindle Fire might have some valid competition after all.  Competition always leads to improvement.  Just look at how far the Nook Tablet is beyond the Nook Color.

Barnes & Noble Already Prepping Kindle Fire Competition

Beginning just days before the press conference that revealed the Kindle Fire to the world, rumors started popping up that Barnes & Noble was nervously prepping their next tablet for a hurried launch to avoid getting shut out of the market.  Naturally they haven’t confirmed these rumors to any degree so far, but the latest reports indicate the potential for both a cheaper Nook Color hardware update and a larger, more powerful incarnation of the same at around $350.

For the past couple months, it’s been pretty great to be Barnes & Noble.  They’ve been selling one of the most functional affordable tablets on the market, almost by accident.  They’ve had what was honestly the best eReader in the US market in terms of performance and readability.  On top of this, Amazon spent months seeming to ignore the world of eReading hardware aside from vague hints.  It couldn’t last forever, but they got to make a big splash with no significant recently released competition.

At first glance Amazon has now got a huge advantage again, especially in terms of the Kindle Fire.  While the Nook Color brought a lot of function for comparatively little money, its main value has generally been in how easily rooted it is.  Barnes & Noble has added an internal app store that has gotten quite a bit better over time, but they have nothing quite as robust as the Amazon Android App Store nor do they have the ability to offer the same kind of end to end experience that the Kindle Fire is anticipated to provide.  Simply put, the emphasis on the Nook Color as specifically a color eReader might have backfired.

Since B&N is experiencing a great deal of its current success (what there is of it) from the Nook line, they cannot afford to not respond.  Fortunately, from the sound of things, there were plans in place.  The Nook Simple Touch eReader shouldn’t have any real problems just now.  It might be slightly more expensive than the cheapest of the Kindle Touch models coming up, but the technology is comparable and for now we have to assume that the experience will be generally similar.  What they’re worried about is the Tablet competition.

A new, larger, more powerful Nook Color, assuming rumors hold some basis in reality, will be either announced or released before the end of October at around $350. This, along with a hardware update to the existing Nook Color, would theoretically have a chance of bringing them back to the front of consumer perception again in time for the 2011 holiday season.

Admittedly we’re talking about theoretical hardware at the moment, so as with most of the Kindle Tablet speculation it has to be taken with a grain of salt.  Still, if they can bring hardware and content availability anywhere near to in line with what Amazon is offering with the Kindle Fire it would be great.  Just the announcement of a $200 tablet from Amazon has already changed hardware prices in the market significantly.  Real, effective competition among budget tablet providers can only be a good thing.

Toys R Us to Sell the Kindle Starting July 31

Toys R Us joins Target, Staples, Best Buy, Radio Shack and AT&T in selling Kindles in their stores.  So, from these stores, the e-reader reaches out to consumers in electronics, business, wireless, and now parents and children.

Why sell Kindles in a toy store?  It sounded kind of farfetched to me at first.  The e-reader has started to reach out to children as an educational tool.  K-12 schools are starting to experiment with using e-readers for textbooks and for other educational needs.  I’ve seen articles floating around that show that school libraries are testing e-readers and tablets for use.

Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are targeting the back to school crowd this year.  Office Max will be selling the Nook around the same time.

It also catches the eye of parents who shop at the toy store.  Just puts the Kindle out there in yet another way.  It will be well positioned for the holiday crowd on Black Friday.

The major shopping times are going to be overflowing with new gadgets this year.  The thought is kind of overwhelming.  But, the competition will be fierce, which means awesome prices.

Toys ‘R Us will offer the Kindle 3G and Wi-Fi, as well as the Kindle Wi-Fi with Special Offers.  In addition to the device itself, there will be a good number of accessories available.

I remember, just a couple of years ago, the Kindle was only limited to online sales.  It is now reaching out to brick and mortar consumers of all ages and interests.  Those who were skittish about buying online have a lot of venues to choose from.

The popular e-reader can be used as an important tool for education in several ways.  The lure of a cool new gadget gets kids excited about reading.  Kindle games and applications have been developed to help kids with learning math and spelling.  There are also interactive Kindle books available that are packed with adventure.

Lastly, the lightweight e-reader is portable and fits easily into a backpack.  I think the Kindle can be used as an important tool in encouraging all children to enjoy reading.  It offers so many types of reading material, from books to magazines, and even graphic novels.  There is something for everyone.

 

So Many Gadgets! What Do We Choose?

As I read the article about the new Kindle upgrades coming up in October, I started to feel really overwhelmed.  There is so much to choose from these days.  So, I thought I’d break it down a bit.  It is all a matter of what type of operating system you prefer (Android or Apple iOS) and what uses you have for your devices.

E-Readers

The Amazon Kindle has been out since 2007 and has evolved a great deal over the last four years to compete with the growing e-reader market: Nook, Kobo, Sony, and most recently, Google’s iriver Story.  It has been interesting to watch how obvious the competition is which all of the companies dropping prices and mocking each others’ style.  Note the latest touchscreen craze.

Then we have the NookColor, a mixed tablet and e-reader that has succeeded in knocking the Kindle off of it its pedestal.

In terms of e-readers, to me, the Kindle wins hands down.  I’ve really enjoyed my Kindle and am looking forward to a new touchscreen version.  Amazon has excellent customer service, and shows no sign of crashing and burning anytime soon, unlike Barnes & Noble and Borders.  If prices keep dropping the way they have, they’ll be pretty cheap here soon.  Now, if only we can stop the rising e-book prices.  But, library lending and all of the free and reduced priced e-books available out there might just take care of that.

Tablets

The iPad wins here.  I am not an Apple fiend by any means, but like the Kindle, the iPad has been around for over a year and offers a lot of different apps for various purposes.  I use mine as a laptop basically.  I also love that I can enlarge the text so easily.  Give me a year and I might be saying something different, but for now, I go for the iPad.  Other tablets to watch: Acer Iconia, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and of course the Kindle Tablet.

Why have a tablet AND an e-reader?  I don’t think of my Kindle as a computer. iBooks does not have nearly the book collection that Amazon does, and reading on the iPad Kindle app does not feel the same.  I can still curl up with the Kindle in bed or on the couch, and it isn’t hard on the eyes.  I love how both Kindle and iPad can fit easily into a tote bag.  Plus, e-readers are getting to be cheap enough that it wouldn’t be a huge setback to have both.

And then there are smartphones…but that market is a whole niche of its own.

 

 

Barnes & Noble Seeks Kindle Converts With eReader Upgrade Offer

Still walking around with a first generation Kindle, Nook, or Sony Reader?  Barnes & Noble is currently offering incentives to upgrade from any other eReader when you switch to the new Nook Simple Touch eReader.  While supplies last, those who choose to take advantage will get themselves a memory card with 30 books on it.  Supposedly, it’s a value of over $300.  Admittedly when looked at closely it’s an offer of questionable value for the most part, but if you have an older device on your hands and intend to switch anyway then it might be worth the trouble.

All you have to do is bring your old eReader with you to any Barnes & Noble store when you go to buy your new Nook.  This isn’t a trade-in program, so they don’t expect you to hand over your old device.  Just show up with a Kindle, Sony Reader, Kobo, or whatever you have on hand, and your new Nook will come with a preloaded 2gb SD card.

It is definitely a smart move on behalf of B&N.  Trade-in and upgrade programs are always a useful means to promote your new product, especially when that new product genuinely brings something useful to the table like the new Nook does.  The only issue I can really see with it is that of how little value the books will provide for most customers.  If it were a matter of getting 30 books of your choice, this would unquestionably be worth the trade for a PRS-500 or first generation Kindle even if it did mean handing over the old model, but instead B&N will be choosing your books for you.  A collection featuring cookbooks, crossword puzzle compilations, classics, and kids books will probably have something for everybody, but it is hard to imagine any particular person wanting all of it at once.  If I were to guess, I would be expecting perhaps 4-5 really enjoyable eBooks for any specific customer.

Normally, the shortcomings associated with this offer would be enough for me to find ways to subtly deride the good people over at B&N for such a paltry offering.  The fact is, however, that at the moment there are no competing opportunities on the market, as far as I am aware.  It won’t be a huge incentive for most people who are fairly new to eReaders, since you already have to own one to take advantage anyway.  It also certainly won’t be enough to pull in many customers who have a latest generation Kindle, since grabbing any books you want out of the offering selection would likely be cheaper than grabbing a second eReader that isn’t compatible with your existing purchases. For people who are unsatisfied with last generation devices, or those with no substantial DRM-protected eBook library, it might be enough to push the decision on an upgrade to Nook over Kindle.  The good folks at Barnes & Noble are almost certainly aware of the narrow margin by which they hold the lead right now, so any nudge in the right direction is going to help capitalize on the success.

Consumer Reports Confirms Amazon Kindle Lagging Slightly Behind New Nook

For the first time ever, the Kindle is not quite in the lead among eReaders, according to Consumer Reports.  Even though it is only a very closely held lead, it’s definitely a good sign for Barnes & Noble’s Nook line.  They’ve released a new product and come out on top, just a bit.

The Consumer Reports article makes the point that for the most part the new Nook succeeds by emulating the Kindle so well.  Rather than throwing everything possible at the reader in hopes that some feature will make it stand out, the Nook Simple Touch is all about the books.  No official web browser, no games, no second screen, just a means to read your book.  This is exactly what the Kindle has always tried rather successfully pushed for, of course, but with all of the fuss over potential competition with the iPad, it’s easy to see why companies like B&N felt the need to emphasize their diverse potential in the previous generation of devices.

Not surprisingly, the excitement over differing battery life claims between the two devices failed to catch on for this scoring.  Consumer Reports gives anything over 5 days the same score.  The screens also seem to have come in at a tie, being the same E Ink Pearl displays.  Price obviously wasn’t an issue either.  Really, the factor that pushed the Nook into the lead was completely separate from the hardware considerations.

The big advantage for the Nook, or at least what seems to have pushed it over the edge, is the library eBook compatibility.  It’s clearly a valued and desirable feature among consumers that will give the Nook the advantage until the Kindle gains Overdrive Library support later this year.  According to the reviewer, this alone could put the Kindle back on top if it is properly implemented.  Given that we know Amazon is pushing for a bit more by allowing in-book annotation on borrowed texts, there might be slightly more to consider than even the ease of use.

The takeaway from this is not, in my opinion, that the Nook is the better eReader or that it is just now belatedly rejoining the Kindle vs Nook competition in a serious way.  It isn’t even about Kindle vs Nook anymore.  We have at least two great eReaders on the market again, between which there is no clear and obvious advantage.  Where the first generation Nook was starting to look rather antiquated by comparison to the Kindle 3, we now have active competition again.  Competition is good.  Choices are even better.

If you’re in the market, this is a great time to grab an eReader.  Check them both out, either on the web or in person at one of the many stores they’re sold at, and figure out which one feels better.  If you have a distinct preference, great, because there aren’t really any downsides to either left.  If not, give some thought to which company you’d rather be working with.  Thanks to the Agency Model of eBook pricing, you’re not going to get a noticeably better price on the Nook than the Kindle or the other way around for most of your purchases.  The customer service experience is slightly better with Amazon, in my opinion, but at the same time B&N offers perks if you happen to be able to get to their stores in person.  It kinda evens out, I think.  Isn’t it great when these are the biggest things we have to worry about when choosing our next eReader?

Barnes & Noble to Release New Kindle Competition

There has been a lot of speculation going around about the possibilities for the next generation of the Kindle competitive Nook eReader.  Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) announced quite recently that on May 24th 2011 we will be hearing all about their new eReading device.  Other than that, there’s little to go on so far.

The Kindle vs Nook competition has been an ongoing factor in the advancement of the eReading industry as a whole.  Amazon finds a way to extend the Kindle’s battery life, and B&N follows suit.  B&N brings a couple games to their eReader and now you can find bunches of even better ones in the Kindle Store.  It’s all about one-upsmanship.  Though there were obviously other factors involved this was a major force in driving eReader prices below the $150 in the first place.  It has only ever worked out to the benefit of the consumer.

These days, B&N has been concentrating on the Nook Color for a while now and as a result is pretty much out of the game.  The Nook Color is an amazing mini-tablet and can be a lot of fun.  It even has some definite advantages over the Kindle for particular uses.  It does not push things very well in a one on one feature comparison, however.

I’m hoping that this announcement addresses that with the first major update to the monochrome Nook’s hardware.  At the moment the Kindle is significantly lighter, easier to read on, faster, and has far better battery life.  The comparison definitely stands a bit one sided at the moment.  That said, it is hard to imagine where there is room for enough improvement to put a Nook product back on top.  The shortcomings of the Kindle, such as they are, have more to do with the software end than the hardware these days.

It is more likely that we’ll be seeing an update to the Nook Color.  The most recent software update for that device has made it capable of taking on the iPad in a limited sort of way, opening it up to a large variety of apps and drastically improved functionality.  The whole Nook Color endeavor has been such a success for B&N that it seems difficult to imagine that they won’t seize the chance to capitalize on the success with a boost to the somewhat underpowered hardware.

There is a lot of money to be made in digital content beyond the eBook and with Amazon seemingly poised to drop their own Tablet PC by the end of the year, now is the time for Barnes & Noble to get the jump on a serious entry into the marketplace.  Who knows, we might even end up getting the first color eReader with an E Ink screen from them?  Even without that, if they can keep the price down enough it will be a big hit.

Nook 3G Being Phased Out

In an interesting, but not exactly surprising announcement through Engadget, we have learned that the Nook 3G is on its way out.  At this point in time, what 3G models are left are pretty much all there will ever be, so now’s the time to pick one up if you’re interested in the more expensive, if somewhat more accommodating, version of this successful Kindle competitor.

There are a few theories being thrown around to try and figure out the logic behind this move.  One of the more popular ones, though in my opinion the least believable of the bunch, is that this is a prelude to the release of a 3G model for the Nook Color.  Were this to be the case (according to the supporting rationale behind this), the classic Nook model would then be moved to the category of “budget Nook”, given a price cut, and there would subsequently be no room for a higher priced model.  Why do I think this unlikely?  Mostly, there is no chance that Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) is going to do something as silly as putting unrestricted free 3G access onto one such an easily rooted, but highly versatile, device.  Their costs would explode.  Even the existing 3G Nooks have less 3G functionality than the equivalent Kindle models, being completely restricted to accessing the B&N book store.

Another possibility being tossed around, slightly more likely but still not quite making sense to me personally, is that this is a sign that B&N is getting ready to release a new version of the Nook with the improved E Ink Pearl screen, like that of the Kindle.  If this were the case, the assumption is that in order to sell the more expensive model in greater quantity, production of the 3G device would begin earlier than the WiFi model so that early adopters would be left without the option.  This one, however, relies on the assumption that the $50 price increase between the two models represents a significant per-unit profit increase for Barnes & Noble, and I just don’t buy that.  Between the extra hardware and the additional cost incurred in making the 3G coverage contract-free, there simply can’t be that much margin left for profit in such a small price hike.  Much as I hope we see a Nook with a better screen at some point soon, this one is far fetched.

No, this is probably something simpler.  Not the heralding of a new launch or update to the Nook line, but a streamlining of production and a removal of some of the complications of upkeep.  There have already been some reports of people having their Nook’s coverage temporarily denied by AT&T for whatever reason, which has to be one of any number of headaches B&N is enduring. Since they’re pretty much pinning their hopes on a more tablet-like future for eReaders, there’s not as much need for 3G coverage, especially when it is as highly restricted as the early Nook’s was. WiFi isn’t all that hard to come by anymore.  This shouldn’t hurt people all that much.  If all else fails, there’s always the Kindle with its unrestricted 3G coverage.  If you’re completely set on a Nook 3G, however, there’s still time!  Right now they may be turning down bulk orders, but the product hasn’t been pulled from shelves.  Grab one while you can.