B&N nook v1.3 released: browser, games & Read In Store

Barnes & Noble have announced a new firmware version for their dual-screen nook ebook reader.  nook firmware v1.3 adds a new (beta) web browser, which uses the E Ink display for content and the touchscreen color LCD for navigation, together with faster page-turns, speedier ebook opening and some new games.  Meanwhile the Read In Store feature – which allows nook owners to preview entire ebooks while connected to B&N store WiFi – has now been activated.

Readers will be able to spend up to an hour reading an ebook, or – in a future addition – up to 20 minutes reading a newspaper or magazine on their nook.  As for the firmware, B&N reckon navigation overall is improved, with an updated homescreen with quicker access to settings (including audio and WiFi) along with the new games – chess and sudoku – and the browser.

nook units connected via WiFi will get the new firmware update automatically sometime over the coming week, but you can kick start the process by visiting nook.com/update and manually downloading it.  We've got a nook unit incoming so we can judge the changes, but until then check out our original B&N nook review.

Press Release:

Barnes & Noble Launches More NOOK™ eBook Reader Firsts:

Read In Store™ Experience and Apps with Games, Along With

Web Browser and Enhanced Wi-Fi® Connectivity

NOOK Customers Can Browse Complete eBooks for Free in Barnes & Noble Stores

Enjoy Chess and Sudoku, Faster Page Turns, Enhanced Home Screen and More

on Updated NOOK Software Now Available

New York, New York – April 23, 2010 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world's largest bookseller, announced more new firsts and features for its popular NOOK eBook Reader, including the breakthrough Read In Store experience (in beta) to browse complete eBooks in Barnes & Noble stores at no cost, as well as challenging games – the first Android applications available on the device – enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity and a basic Web browser (in beta). The new features, along with additional reading and device performance optimization, such as faster page turns and an enhanced home screen, are part of NOOK v1.3 software, which is now available.

In Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK automatically connects to the fast and free Wi-Fi where NOOK customers can tap on the Shop button to now enjoy the beta Read In Store feature. Customers can read many complete eBooks available in Barnes & Noble's expansive eBookstore of more than one million digital titles, even if the physical book is not in stock. From current bestsellers to classics, customers can enjoy a wide variety of eBooks from hundreds of publishers, including all the major publishing houses. Soon, in-store visitors will also be able to virtually flip through leading daily newspapers and magazines covering news, finance and technology available in the eBookstore.

NOOK customers can explore the content of as many digital titles as they wish, on any given day, including any available eBook for up to an hour per day; and to come, current-edition newspapers and magazines in the BN eBookstore will be available for up to 20 minutes per day. NOOK's Read In Store experience is another first for the retail and eBook arena, like the More In Store™ experience which offers NOOK owners access to free, exclusive content from leading authors and special discounts and promotions when in Barnes & Noble stores.

"Our digital customers will feel at home in our stores with Read In Store, which puts a digital spin on the popular Barnes & Noble bookstore experience that millions of our customers enjoy each day. At no cost, NOOK customers can browse through our robust collection of digital content while enjoying their favorite beverage in our café," said Tony Astarita, Vice President, Digital Products, Barnes & Noble.com. "We know our customers enjoy discovering great reads in our bookstores. So, we worked closely with our valued publishing partners to offer this innovative digital experience for NOOK owners when they visit any of our 723 Barnes & Noble stores." Mr. Astarita added, "We also included new games and many other entertaining features to continue to deliver on our promise to make NOOK the most fun, easy-to-use eBook Reader for people who love to read."

Other updates NOOK customers will enjoy with v1.3 software include:

· Reading experience: To help customers get to their content conveniently and quickly, Barnes & Noble has continued to optimize NOOK's performance with improved page turn speed, faster access to previously opened eBooks, enhanced color touch screen navigation and more.

· Games: From eBooks to rooks, play Chess against NOOK with one of three levels of difficulty, or get puzzled with Sudoku, choosing from four levels of play. Control the game using the color touch screen as the game board appears on the E Ink® display.

· Wi-Fi connectivity: In addition to Barnes & Noble bookstores and other Wi-Fi hotspots, enjoy high-speed connectivity in even more places, such as those that require access to additional information through a Web browser including hotels and coffee shops.

· Basic Web browser (Beta): While connected via Wi-Fi, explore the Web and check Internet-based e-mail accounts on the E Ink display, while using the color touch screen for navigation and to access the virtual keyboard.

· Updated home screen: From the home menu (located on the lower color touch screen), get easy, direct access to existing features including Audio and Wi-Fi settings, as well as new features such as Games and beta Web browser.

NOOK v1.3 is now available via manual download at www.nook.com/update with additional information and easy-to-follow directions. NOOKs connected to Wi-Fi will receive an automatic NOOK v1.3 update over the next week.

About NOOK™, by Barnes & Noble

NOOK marries innovative technology and sleek minimalist design with access to the Barnes & Noble's digital store of over one million eBooks, newspapers and magazines. NOOK's color touch screen for navigation along with a best-in-class E Ink display offer an immersive, enjoyable e-reading experience. It offers both 3G wireless and Wi-Fi access, is the first to offer digital lending for a wide selection of eBooks through its LendMe™ technology. In Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK customers can access free Wi-Fi connectivity, enjoy the beta Read In Store feature to browse many complete eBooks for free, and the More In Store program, which offers free, exclusive content and special promotions. NOOK is available for $259 in Barnes & Noble stores, www.nook.com and at Best Buy stores and www.bestbuy.com.

To learn more and experience NOOK, visit www.nook.com. Follow our eBooks and other updates on www.twitter.com/NOOKBN and www.facebook.com/NOOKBN for information on NOOK updates, new eBook releases, Free Friday eBooks and more. To learn more about the free Barnes & Noble eReader software and Barnes & Noble eBookstore apps, visit www.bn.com/ebooks.

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world's largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 723 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, also operates 639 college bookstores serving nearly 4 million students and over 250,000 faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble is the nation's top bookseller brand for the seventh year in a row, as determined by a combination of the brand's performance on familiarity, quality, and purchase intent; the top bookseller in quality for the second year in a row and the number two retailer in trust, according to the EquiTrend® Brand Study by Harris Interactive®. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web's largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than one million titles in its eBookstore (www.bn.com/ebooks). Barnes & Noble customers can buy and read eBooks on the widest range of platforms, including NOOKTM by Barnes & Noble, eBook readers from partner companies, and hundreds of the most popular mobile and computing devices using free BN eReader software.

General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company's corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.