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B&N fires back at Amazon over Kindle battery life

A small controversy is brewing over which e-reader lays claim to the title of having the best battery life.

Barnes & Noble maintains that the new Nook offers superior battery performance to the Kindle. Sarah Tew/CNET

This morning, CNET posted a story about how Amazon--after Barnes & Noble had claimed that its new Nook e-reader offered two months of battery life--had changed the battery life figures on its Web site for the Kindle WiFi and Kindle 3G to match the new Nook's.

Apparently, Amazon felt that Barnes & Noble had come up with its numbers using an equation based on having the wireless completely turned off and reading for just 30 minutes a day. Amazon's original one-month battery life for the Kindle was based a user reading for one hour a day with the wireless turned off. So it went ahead and updated the Kindle's battery life numbers to reflect Barnes & Noble's equation and clarified the new numbers with the following promotional copy on the Kindle's product page:

A single charge lasts up to two months with wireless off based upon a half-hour of daily reading time. If you read for one hour a day, you will get battery life of up to one month. Keep wireless always on and it lasts for up to 10 days. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store, Web browsing, and downloading content. In low-coverage areas or in EDGE/GPRS-only coverage, wireless usage will consume battery power more quickly.

Fair enough. Makes sense, right? Well, now Barnes & Noble has fired back.

CNET received the following statement from Jamie Iannone, president of Barnes & Noble Digital Products:

With up to two months on a single charge, the all-new Nook has the longest battery life in the industry and superior battery performance to Kindle 3. In our side-by-side tests, under the exact same conditions, continuous use of the device resulted in more than two times Kindle's battery life. While reading at one page a minute, the all-new Nook battery lasts for 150 hours, where the Kindle battery, using the same page-turn rate, lasts for only 56 hours (both with Wi-Fi off). We've also done a continuous page turn test and at one page turn per second, the all-new Nook offers more than 25,000 continuous page turns on a single charge.

We're not quite sure what to make of all this, and to be clear, we haven't tested the new Nook's battery life against the Kindle's (we won't get a new Nook review unit for a few weeks), so we don't have any way to confirm these numbers. But obviously, both companies take very seriously the notion of laying claim to the title of having the longest battery life in the industry.

We await word from Amazon on this little battery brouhaha and will add any statement that a spokesperson offers as soon as we get it.