Looking to make the Nook Color a Valentine's Day gift? Well, your present might not make it in time.
We noticed a small item on the Good E-reader blog that was hard to believe. Without citing a source, the blog claims Barnes & Noble is doing "major inventory" to see how many Nook Colors are in circulation and that the company has "quietly depleted all stock in their retail locations and either sent them all to the Nook headquarters in New York, or has not had further shipments fulfilled." The post adds: "This goes the same with other companies whom sell the color e-reader on their behalf."
Well, we went to check the Best Buy site and sure enough it said the Nook Color was "backordered." Then we went directly to Barnes & Noble's Web site and saw a little message on the "buy" button saying the Nook Color "ships in two weeks."
We're a little surprised Barnes & Noble would take as popular a device as the Nook Color out of stores leading up to a holiday like Valentine's Day, so we'll wait and see if the company has a little more to say about this in the coming days. Some people have reported that certain Barnes & Noble's stores still have some stock but many do not (let us know if any stores in your area have any; we don't want to spread false rumors).
Does this mean some sort of significant software upgrade is coming or is this truly just an inventory update? We'll let you know as we get more information.
Update: The latest rumor, once again courtesy of Good E-Reader, is that the reason for the temporary unavailability is that Barnes & Noble is in the process of installing an anti-rooting "fix" for the Nook Color because people have been to run a custom version of the Android-based firmware. That custom firmware allows users to access and download apps from the Android Marketplace, including competing e-reading apps such as Kindle and Kobo.
Good E-Reader cites a "Barnes & Noble source" in mentioning the rumor, but to be clear, we don't know if there's any truth to it or not, and we're not sure how Barnes & Noble would truly be able to lock the device down. Another possibility some posters have suggested is that there was a defective batch of Nook Colors that arrived from China and that Barnes & Noble has been trying trying to weed them out of stock. Again, just another rumor.