Ever since word got out that Barnes & Noble is set to announce its own e-book reader next week, the rumors have been flying. Gizmodo on Wednesday published more details about the device, and pictures, which it says it acquired from an internal source. Click through the gallery for more.
The first screen is a 6-inch e-ink display with an 800x600 pixel resolution. That's standard for e-books, with this screen having similar refresh and contrast as the second-generation Kindle's.
The second display, however, is as wide as the e-ink display but is a multitouch LCD meant to be used as the sole interface for browsing swiftly through colored book covers (like Apple's coverflow, but with books instead of album art) and buying "rather than forcing e-ink (to) do things it was not made for." It is 480x144 pixels in size and has a resolution of 150dpi.
The choice of two different screens (and techs) on one device serves to overcome the shortcomings in e-ink, which lacks in richness and interactivity, as well as LCD's eyestrain and battery drain. (The LCD will remain inactive while books are being read.)
Contrast this with the Kindle, which uses the e-ink display to emulate a slow menu system and requires a physical keyboard for searching. Likewise, Sony's e-ink readers with touch-screen layers have reduced visibility. The B&N reader has none of these issues.
According to the photos, there are two sets of next/previous page buttons, as with the Kindle. But there are also buttons for search; home; and "BN," which it's safe to assume is for accessing the store; and a back button. There's also an icon for a person, with a dot under it, which is for a user profile, important for the device's social-networking hooks.
The e-reader is expected to enable book-lending features between friends and publishing of excerpts on Facebook and Twitter, but that may be cut before launch.
The carrier attached to the reception bars at the top of these photos might be Verizon or Sprint, but Barnes & Noble, wise to Amazon's international plans ahead of the public (corporate espionage!) may have gone with a carrier more capable of bringing their books internationally, more naturally, meaning a GSM carrier.