Hey, For $250, That Nook Looks Pretty Good

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Barnes & Noble introduced its improved Nook e-reader today, a 7-inch, full-color tablet running the Android operating system.

I can't say that I was burning with excitement about a new Nook. After all, the iPad has a kind of cachet and polish that the Nook just doesn't. On the other hand, at $250, just half of the iPad's price, I could see buying one. Not as a keyboardless mini-computer but just as a content reader for book, magazine, and newspaper content. For that, regardless of what Chairman Steve says, the 7-inch size (about the same as a paperback book) is perfect for tossing into a bag.

Perhaps the larger point is that perhaps the tablet market won't be quite as winner-take-all as it seems after the iPad's incredible run in the last few months. Maybe multiple devices will carve out and sustain niches serving a specific set of customers, even as the iPad becomes the all-purpose device in the center of the industry.

Image: Gizmodo
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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