Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nook preview and some facts in Nook-Kindle comparisons - Update2

Word went out from Barnes & Noble today that all B&N stores will have a demo copy of the Nook to try "beginning" Monday, though there'll be no for-sale inventory at the stores, and earliest expected ship date for new orders as of yesterday is now January 15.

Update 12/6 - It's reported that Engadget was asked to remove the article described below, Saturday.

See Update2 for added WiFi network access info today found in the B&N User Guide that is now online.

Engadget's Ross Miller got a hold of some early photos of a functioning Nook.  The tipster who took the photos gave Engadget, in his description, the feeling that the lag time noticed between the color navigational screen and the e-ink text screen in the early video has not been improved.   You can see also in that video that pressing the next-page indicator on the bezel does not get much of a response either.  This may be one reason no gadget reviewer has received a review-copy before customers who are buying on paper specs.

* "The thing lags so much between the e-ink display and the Android touchscreen.  All I want to do is use the e-ink display as touchscreen.
    [The e-ink display is not a touchscreen though and
      the extra layer needed for that causes glare in the Sony Touch.]

 It's nice to see the real book art, but its so tiny and laggy that I simply want to leave that screen as soon as I can."

* "In tiny text in the manual, it states that the in-store WiFi browsing will come in 2010 ..."

* "I also can't remember if this is common knowledge, but you can only browse books cover-to-cover over B&N WiFi for an hour -- Not the unlimited that was promised when it launched..."
Here's a photo of the deeper depth of the Nook as well as the amount the main screen is sunk in.  Many who were able to hold the plastic mockup at stores the last 10 days thought "it felt right" (though it had no innards, but it is only 11 ounces or so anyway).  The depth likely makes the SD slot more doable, a plus.

 Some of the commenters who have been able to try it also report the lag and are hopeful that it'll be minimized in the future.  An optimistic person at Barnes and Noble' forum explains the discussed 'Android lag':
'  In reality, when you swipe those books [book covers], the motion is stuttered and "laggy".  Also when you select various different functions in the color screen, the response isn't as instant as what's shown on those ads.
  This will make adding notes, highlighting, and looking through bookmarks slower and possibly very frustrating for early adopters.  With time, I am confident software updates will alleviate these issues. '
I've seen that many prospective or early buyers (as seen on gadget column comments), not only feel but are sure that the WiFi feature means that the Nook is able to surf the web -- that Nook owners will be able to do that if they have a WiFi connection.  This is encouraged sometimes by some reporters' misunderstanding of WiFi.

  1.  The Nook does not have a web browser.

  2.  WiFi networks allowing free access usually have splash screens requiring input but the Nook has no way of 'seeing' those and then providing input to them to gain complete access.

  3.  WiFi networks at home or office, etc., usually have WEP or other security installed to protect the networks.  I have 6 outside my flat, in addition to my own, and they all have security installed.
        The Nook has no made a way to provide the security number ("encryption key") that is needed for these commonly protected WiFi networks.  It's difficult to imagine what can be done without a browser that requests and delivers correctly formatted pages -- but there is a minimal one of course to get what is provided and formatted by Barnes and Noble for its e-book store.

UPDATE2 - 12/7/09 - 2:23 PM - The Nook User Guide is online today, finally, and Anonymous pointed me, in the Comments section of this post, to page 56 which shows that B&N have or have planned a Menu'd procedure in place for WiFi hotspots, for input of the usual security info.

See Comments section for quotes from the B&N forum discussing the WiFi/Nook capabilities w/o a browser, normally -- with the Barnes and Noble administrator saying that input would not be possible.  That would have changed during late November.  The last comment there, at 1:52 PM, incorporates what's said in the manual put online today.

That is slick.  Bear in mind that using the WiFi network without a browser means there is no web browsing, but you can access the Barnes & Noble store, which will recognize a Nook is knocking at the door.

  And some commenters hope that apps will be made for the Nook to make this [a web browser] possible.

  4.  There are ways to limit access to only the bookstore, as Canada found out when early International Kindles to Canada had web-browsing enabled but the feature was later disabled.
        On the other hand, the Kindle actually has a web browser, even if it's a slow one.
  And Kindle owners in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Hongkong can do email and look up info at mobile-unit optimized websites

  Also, Jeff Bezos has said Amazon intends to enable its web browser in all countries eventually.

  While it will take time for wireless providers to cooperate in lower-cost large-group wireless access, that's something to consider when buying an e-reader if you are interested in a web-access feature.

  At this point, virtually all countries with Kindle agreements and with wireless access for Kindle owners have had the web browser enabled for Wikipedia access for free, 24/7.
  When reading a book, you can highlight a word or phrase and have the Kindle take you to Wikipedia to find out more about it.

  There is a forum thread devoted to the WiFi question (what it means for Nook users), at Barnes and Noble's Nook forums.

LENDING A BOOK TO FRIENDS - Emphasis on the plural there.
B&N has not been very clear about the limitations that are built in.

  1.  The ability to lend a book depends on the publisher giving authorization for that on a given book.

  2.  Where lending is allowed by the publisher, it can be done only once per book, ever, for 14 days, to one person only.

  3.  The person getting the book has 14 days to finish it and there are no other chances -- for that person or for other friends.

This is the fault of publishers, many of whom are quite unfriendly to the idea of e-books being more affordable and cutting into hardcover sales.

If one is concerned about being able to share books with friends, Kindlers do have a way within current guidelines to do that.

These are added to the B&N store total.  Since these are in PDF format, originally, Kindle owners can download them and move them to the Kindle and read though that would be best in landscape mode.  To get larger text though, "reflowed" around illustrations instead of trying to emulate the layout of the original large page on a small screen, Kindle users can can use a free utility to convert any free ePub book to a Kindle-readable book within 2-3 minutes.

 B&N store staff is also telling customers that the Kindle allows customers to purchase and read only Amazon books; that is of course not true.  See the blog article how to get books from everywhere.

  I would prefer that Amazon bite the bullet and have the Kindle do direct reading of non-rights-protected ePub books at least, even if they strategically cling to $-protecting Amazon rights-protection while Sony changes to Adobe rights-protection over ePub.  We can all read Kindle books on our PCs now and soon on our Macs and Blackberry units, not requiring a Kindle at all, to read Kindle books we've bought or downloaded.

  So, any limitations are not even close to what they're represented to be.
And the Nook's feature set is not "more advanced" due to a 2nd screen.  The ability to look up information on the Net and the Read to Me feature (which is robotic in a friendly-sounding way) are both useful as needed and relatively advanced over other e-reader offerings.  How the unit functions for in-line dictionary use, book or full-unit searches, annotations is also important to those whose reading involves reference works.

Again, I'm a B&N member and a regular visitor to the store.  I actually don't like that people bring out their Kindles in front of store staff who are worried about their jobs.  The Nook is very important to B&N after the last quarter's earnings in this economy.  The physical stores are important to many of us.  And the Nook is important to Kindle owners as a point of competitive pressure to keep Amazon on its toes. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. Andrys,
    Have you looked at the Nook user guide?

    Page 56 indicates how one would enter their password when connecting to a wifi hotspot. So I believe what you are saying is wrong when you state that there is no way to connect to a secure hotspot.

  2. Anonymous,
    Glad they finally put the User Guide online.

    There is definitely a way to enter your password if you're in a non-WEP-like security WiFi access point. Otherwise you couldn't access Barnes and Noble, to buy, with your credit card info, from your home/office Wifi network.

    However, what the WiFi thread I linked to, at the B&N forum (with administrators replying to it), discusses is being able to enter a security key to access a WiFi network or hot spot that uses security.

    Once you remove your home security-key setup (a security key is recommended for all home/office wireless networks), then you can access the WiFi network with the Nook.

    At that point, if you get Barnes and Noble store, which recognizes a Nook trying to access, you would have to enter a password to log onto B&N.

    Once they get this going at B&N (they already have wireless available for a long time at the ones I go to, but not for Nook access yet), in 2010, they will be providing it free (something they started doing many months ago, which I wrote about).

    Let me know if you find out differently.


  3. To clarify a bit more,
    here is a detailed explanation of the problems for the Nook's connecting to a secured WiFi network that requires security with logon input on the usual splash screen. This is at the B&N forum discussion on WiFi etc., by ps56k, at #37:

    He explains why even if you can enter information and be connected to the network, a splash screen requiring input will make the access 'useless' without a browser to see it.

    All of this is as clear as mud, as they say -- there IS some kind of limited browser or the B&N WiFi at their stores would't work (when it starts in 2010).

    Josh, a B&N forum administrator also explains there, a bit earlier, in #3 at that

    "You would be able to connect to your home network as long as you have the rights to access the network. But if you have settings that require you to enter an access key beforehand, you will not be able to connect to the network. You will not be able to enter an access key on nook."

    The first link (explanation) I mention here explains why Josh said that last. But I think staff is reading from materials as replies from Josh can be contradictory.

    The third link, coming up is an explanation by njnookman in that thread, at #28 He says:

    "(c) If you can't get 3G, you can go to any AT&T wi-fi hot spot, or any public wi-fi hotspot that does not require you to enter an SSID (service identifier) or encryption key. It appears these are not yet supported features for nook."

    They are officially supported though, but the processes programmed right now may not fully support it to use that access in the expected way.

  4. Anonymous,
    On page 56, they definitely have a menu'd procedure for entering information for a WiFi secured-network itself. Whether that was a plan that hasn't been implemented fully yet, I don't know.

    Whether an unexpected splash screen affects the process or not, as warned, I don't know.

    I do know that with my Netbook, which has much better WiFi connection capabilities than my older laptop which I used everywhere for WiFi work, I will often see public or open (non-secured) networks and connect to them.
    But no data is ever transferred, which is frustrating. My recent many WiFi hookups on vacation required a splash screen with quite a bit of input each time. Your home one would be much simpler.

    The user guide definitely does not mention the word 'browser' except to recommend getting on a browser (on one's computer) to download a needed file to the Nook while hooked up to a computer and then "eject" the Nook from the computer afterward.

  5. Just an addendum while reading the Nook User Guide that went online a couple of days ago.

    "Your nook can connect to Wi-Fi hotspots (places that offer wireless Internet access).

    Your nook cannot use Wi-Fi hotspots that require acceptance of terms and conditions or that have account authentication.

    Your nook will connect to the hotspots, but activities that us [sic] the network such as shopping are not possible. If you add such a hotspot, you should have your nook forget it."

    Since shopping is the main thrust of any bookstore, that makes sense.

    Here's page 66 and and the how-to there:

    Your nook’s wireless connectivity lets you shop for eBooks, magazines, and newspapers from the Barnes & Noble eBookstore from your nook. There is no need to visit a website.

    [ This is likely why they didn't make a web browser for the Nook (at least for now). One could be a revenue source in the future. ]

    What you buy is delivered to your online digital library immediately and downloaded to your nook within about a minute. For a subscription, the current issue is delivered and downloaded.
    Enter the Shop by tapping shop on the Home menu..."


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]