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Barnes & Noble e-reader to offer web browser

Fri, 04/23/2010 - 5:30am
The Associated Press

Barnes & Noble plans to roll out a software update to its electronic reader the Nook that will let users surf the Web and play games.

The bookseller said Friday the update will also allow users to browse complete books in Barnes & Noble stores for up to an hour a day at no cost, even if the book isn't in the store.

Better Wi-Fi connectivity, faster page turns and better touch-screen navigation are also part of the upgrade.

Barnes & Noble's Nook uses Google's Android operating system. When it was launched, executives said Android applications could be developed for the Nook. The games, which includes chess and Sudoku, are the first Android applications.

Dedicated e-readers have been threatened by the launch of Apple's iPad earlier this month. Amazon.com's Kindle also offers a basic Web browser.

To offset attention on the iPad, Barnes & Noble launched an ad campaign Thursday touting the Nook, including the company's first TV ads in a decade.

Barnes & Noble and other traditional booksellers have been pressured by tough competition from discounters and Web sites. The New York company launched Nook as way to stake a claim in the electronic book space.

In February, the company said the launch of the Nook helped spur online sales, which rose 32 percent, but weakness at its bookstores led to a drop in profit during the third quarter.

Nook users can download the update at www.nook.com/update.

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