While release of international Kindle 2 may have been the biggest move by Amazon since Kindle was originally released on the November 19, 2007, it is going to face some serious competition this holiday season. According to Wall Street Journal, Barnes and Noble may start selling their own device as early as November.
The device will have:
- 6 inch grayscale E-Ink screen
- Touchscreen interface with virtual keyboard
- 3G Wireless via AT&T to download eBooks from Barnes & Noble store
Amtek International Co filed the request for FCC approval on behalf of Barnes & Noble and the approval was given in September.
To me the Barnes&Noble device seems like Sony PRS-600 but with 3G wireless. And this just might make a huge difference and make the device competitive. I’ve been playing around with my PRS-600 and so far found touchscreen to be a mixed blessing. It’s hard to tell how it will be with B&N reader as it depends on the implementation. However with 3G wireless unless B&N will totally blow it will be a device comparable to Kindle. With iRex and Plastic Logic readers also compatible with their store consumers will have more choice in hardware and this can be an advantage for B&N as eBook vendor.
On the other hand Amazon is still several steps ahead of the competition with the recent international release of Kindle 2 as well as established hi-end Kindle DX product line.
It will be an interesting holiday season for eBook industry. Depending on how it plays out for all the companies involved it may shape the future of the whole market for the years to come.
I was about to publish this post when I came by a peculiar rumor leak at gizmodo: they claim that Barnes&Noble eReader will run Google’s Android OS. Personally I find it highly unlikely though definitely intriguing.