Nook Color – How is it color, exactly?

That’s what I asked myself when I first heart about the new Nook Color. How exactly can it have a color screen while all other ebook readers have black&white screens? Well, it’s not a leap in e-reader technology — it’s a different type of screen altogether.

Nook ColorE-Ink screens are all B&W, and they are all matte instead of glossy. They are made that way on purpose so that they don’t reflect light. That makes them more like reading a book on paper because they can be read by a lamp or even outside in the sun.

The Nook Color’s screen, which they’re calling a “VividView™ Color Touchscreen,” is not E-Ink. It’s a backlit screen, and from what I can tell, it’s pretty much the same type of screen as on the iPad. It even changes from horizontal to vertical like the iPad, and I imagine that you’d use the same kind of flicking/swiping motions on it.

In my opinion, this doesn’t really count as an e-reader. It’s more like a tablet computer. The Nook website says that it can play videos, and I’ve even read that Barnes & Noble is going to be opening it up to third-party software developers.

Now, that’s not to say that a backlit screen is bad, besides the fact that it eats up a ton more battery power, and it’s not to say that videos and third-party apps are bad. I just find it a little unfair for this type of device to be competing against e-readers, since it’s really not the same type of device. However, maybe we’ll see that everyone loves using this type of screen a lot more than E-Ink, and all companies manufacturing e-reader devices will move towards this type of screen. Personally, I like LCD screens much better than E-Ink because they provide much more contrast, and it’s not like I need protection against glare because I don’t do much reading outside in the sun.

It would be silly of me not to throw in some information about the ebook formats that it supports. The tech specs say the Nook Color can use:

  • EPUB (including Non or Adobe DRM)
  • PDF
  • Graphics: JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP
  • Audio: MP3, AAC
  • Video: MP4

That looks just about the same as the other current readers (except the Kindle, of course). One thing jumps out at me, though: the PDF line does not make any mention of Adobe DRM. Does that mean it can’t read PDF files with DRM through Adobe Digital Editions? If so, that’ll cut out a lot of book choices. Perhaps it’s just an oversight, but if not, any users of the Nook Color had better stick to EPUB.


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About The eBook Reader

I love reading and I love technology. eBooks are an interesting combination of the two.

One response to “Nook Color – How is it color, exactly?”

  1. dr. Rush says :

    I have the same view: the Nook Color is not an eBook reader.

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