If Barnes & Noble is bringing color to the Nook e-reader, the company itself spilled the beans. Rumors of a 7-inch Android tablet dubbed Nook Color surfaced last week, and this weekend the device was spotted in the wild. Sort of.
A product page on Barnes & Noble's website, which has since been removed, contained a picture of a screen protector for a so-called Nook Color. The photo shows a tablet-like device with rounded corners, a widescreen display, and a single button underneath the screen. The lower left corner is missing a plastic covering, and has instead what it looks like a belt clip.
Barnes & Noble scheduled a press event on Tuesday, where it is widely speculated the company will unveil a full-color Nook e-reader for the relatively small price of US$249 (compared to other 7-inch Android tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which will be priced at US$600).
The sneak peek revealed no details, however, on what screen technology the Nook Color will use, or any of the device's specifications besides the screen size and Google's Android as the OS of choice. We don't know whether has 3G or just Wi-Fi capabilities, and reports indicate that Barnes & Noble's e-reader won't try to compete with the iPad in terms of functionality, hence half the price of Apple's cheapest tablet.
The current Nook lineup combines two screen technologies. An e-ink screen is used to display the books on the e-reader, while underneath a smaller color LCD touchscreen lets you browse through your library. The Nook e-reader already uses Android, so it would be a natural extension for Barnes & Noble to use the OS on the Nook Color as well.
The Nook 3G+WiFi currently retails for $199, while the Wi-Fi-only version comes in at US$149, so it is possible Barnes & Noble will continue to sell the e-ink models alongside the more expensive Nook Color.
Amazon has not indicated whether it plans to introduce a color version of its popular Kindle e-reader, which starts at US$139 for the Wi-Fi-only model, and $189 for the 3G+Wi-Fi model.