Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The Nook Stops Short
Is the Barnes and Noble Nook Color, an ereader eink killer, or an iPad tablet competitor?
Barnes & Noble’s updated e-reader Nook Color certainly sits price wise smack of the ereader tablet divide, but is that good enough? The operating system is Android OS 2.2/Froyo and although it supports Adobe Flash Player, full featured email, it is not Android 3.0 and flash and email isn’t enough to differentiate it from the either of the ereaders or tablets.
Nook users can already access 2 million digital titles, but these numbers aren’t that impressive any more. The new Nook will render enhanced media titles, but given their numbers today and in the near future, this isn’t a clear differentiator and even Nook Newsstand and its 150 full-colour newspapers and magazines doesn’t excite us.
The problem is that someone looking for a tablet or iPad 2, will probably be happy to part with the extra cash and those wanting a good ereader, will probably bank the cash and choose a dedicated reader and platform such as Kobo and Kindle. Is a colour TFT LCD screen good enough to make a difference? If you want to play video there are better devices and if you want to just read there are better devices.
The big problem is the Barnes and Noble and Nook brand and its reach. To those in the US this is not a problem, but outside of the US Barnes and Noble is not a recognised brand and the Nook, not a recognised reader. Barnes and Noble may be happy to play just in the US and we accept that the market is huge, but unlike baseball and American football the technology market is global. It's a true world series and they aren’t in it today.
Anyone trying to put up ebooks onto their service, use their Pubit, or do anything Nookie from outside the US will know very well that the service is very very very xenophobic.
They could address this by striking deals with and working with the likes of Waterstones in the UK and other retailers around the world, but they and the others appear unable to join those dots and would rather plough their own furrows.