Nook Color Android update adds Angry Birds, Nook Friends social network
Barnes & Noble's Nook Color gained a few new features on Monday that push the device more into the classification of a tablet computer and not simply another e-reader.
Among the additions is a store for buying applications, which Barnes & Noble is calling Nook Apps; apps for email, calendars and contacts; support for Adobe Air and Flash; and a new Nook social networking app.
One thing that isn't changing, however, is the price -- $249 for the 7-inch touch-screen device, which features 8GB of storage.
The updates come as the Nook Color is being switched over to a newer version of Google's Android operating system, called Froyo. Unlike the Honeycomb software, which was designed specifically to run on tablets, Froyo was designed for phones but is on many tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
But while the Nook Color can now run Android Froyo, it won't be running all Android apps. Instead, Barnes & Noble is asking developers to optimize their apps for the Nook Color and submit them through the Nook Apps store, rather than simply allowing users to download apps from the Android Market.
As of Monday, 125 apps were available in the Nook Apps store, including Angry Birds, one of the more popular games available on tablets and smartphones nowadays. Other apps include Pandora Internet radio, the game Uno, the cooking app Epicurious and the as-seen-on-iPad news app Pulse.
Barnes & Noble is also taking a stab at building its own social network among Nook users called Nook Friends.
Using a Nook Friends app, Nook users can see what their friends are reading, read reviews of books, loan books to each other, share quotes from a book, list their progress in a book and recommend a title to a buddy.
In another nod to social networking, Nook users can now "like" titles in the device's bookstore app, with the liking showing up on a person's Facebook page.
The Nook Color updates, which are free, are being pushed to users via Wi-Fi beginning this week or available for manual download at www.nookcolor.com/update.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Image: Angry Birds running on a Nook Color tablet from Barnes & Noble. Credit: Barnes & Noble