B&N launches 'simple' touch-screen Nook (live blog)

Barnes & Noble shows off the new Nook e-reader priced at $139. Get the full skinny in our live blog of the unveiling.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
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David Carnoy
6 min read

Barnes and Noble CEO William Lynch unveils the new touch-screen Nook today at a New York event. Sarah Tew/CNET

Editor's note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component below. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers and CNET reporters. For those of you who just want the updates, we've included them in regular text here. To get the key points from today's announcement, you can check out a summary of what got announced, in our story here.

For those of you interested in all the latest e-reader news, Barnes & Noble will be trotting out a new Nook this morning that may make the Kindle look so last year.

While we don't know for certain just what kind of e-reader it will be, as we've written in the past, there are strong indications that it will be a touch-screen E Ink model that may be similar to the Kobo Wi-Fi Touch Edition e-reader announced on Monday.

We're live-blogging the event from New York, so follow the press conference as it unfolds starting at 7 a.m. PT this morning.

Transcript of live blog starts here:

7:01-7:02 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): VIP seats in front are now filled. They've told us to silence phones. Two minutes, announcer says.

7:03 a.m. PT (John Falcone): As a reminder, here's the Nook Color news from last month: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20056488-1.html

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:04-7:08 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Lights going down. Ad for Nook Color coming on. I've seen this ad. CEO William Lynch coming on stage. Important day in company's history, he says. B&N has 25 percent market share of e-book market, he says. Talking up Nook Color...best-selling tablet in U.S. On to Nook ecosystem...Reading apps...8 million libraries created with Nook reading apps...2 million books in database. Self-publishing growing rapidly (Pub-It)...Nook apps...well over 1 million apps downloaded...exceeded expectations. Cloud services...manage Nook books in the cloud.

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:09-7:12 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Talking up customer support for Nook, B&N's transition to more of a tech company. B&N a pioneer in e-reading, Lynch says. Firsts...digital lending...social media (Nook Friends), Nook Kids, Nook Newsstand...1.5 million subscriptions to digital magazines in six months. Reference articles in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Nook Color is a home run, but some people want simpler e-reading experience... Here comes "Simple."

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew

7:13 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Holds up new Nook. People clapping, It's black, small. Looks like Kindle without the keyboard. Video on screen now.

7:14 a.m. PT (John Falcone): [on the presentation screen, not the Nook screen]

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:14-7:17 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Simply called the new Nook. The Simple Touch Reader is the tagline, as expected. Touch screen...7.5 ounces. Not quite as light as the new Kobo Touch Edition. Battery life up to two months. Wow. Beats Nook by a month. Pearl display, as expected. Same E Ink screen as in Kindle. Eighty percent less flashing, which means faster processor. Lynch says it's the best value in the e-reading market. Comparing new Nook to Kindle now. There are 37 more buttons on Kindle, he says.

7:18 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Showing how new Nook is easier to use than Kindle. More button clicks to navigate device. 6-inch E Ink display in case you were wondering about screen size.

7:19 a.m. PT (John Falcone): Recap: New Nook, 6-inch Pearl E Ink touch screen, 7.5 ounces, battery life up to 2 months, $139.

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:19-7:22 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Soft-touch paint on device. Curved corners. Ergonomically correct. Talking about ghosting effect of E Ink now. Again, says new Nook will have 80 percent less "flashing." New Nook looks to be about an inch shorter than Kindle. Jamie Iannone, president of digital division, is on stage now for a "deep dive." [The new Nook] is 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than original Nook. Fifty percent better contrast than original Nook.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:23-7:25 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Touch screen, as expected, uses Neonode infrared technology. Same technology is in Sony Readers and new Kobo. No word yet on how much memory is onboard. New feature: FastPage allows you to zoom forward in a book. [It has] six different fonts and seven different sizes. Dictionary look-up is much easier now with touch screen. Shopping experience has been upgraded on device. Built-in Wi-Fi, no 3G.

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:26-7:28 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Talking up social aspects, Nook Friends. Sharing book recs with friends, lend books to friends, etc...Next month launching MyNook, site for sharing with friends. "Simplest e-reader ever created." People clapping. Marketing part is hopefully over--or close to it.

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:28-7:29 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): OK, William Lynch, CEO, back on stage, summing things up. New Nook starts shipping June 10. Available for preorder now.

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:29 a.m. PT (John Falcone): Recap: New Nook, 6-inch Pearl E Ink touch screen, 7.5 ounces, battery life up to 2 months, built-in Wi-Fi (no 3G), $139, available June 10.

7:30 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): OK, presentation is over. Clapping. Device spins on screen. Q&A for media is starting.

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:31-7:32 a.m. PT (John Falcone): Main questions include: Why no 3G? Is battery user-replaceable? What's the onboard/expandable storage? And: What will the price be on the old/outgoing E Ink Nooks?

7:31 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Just told Lynch they're playing an Apple ad song in the background.

7:32 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): First question coming. Question about the device being Wi-Fi only.

Sarah Tew/CNET

7:35 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Chip is 800MHz TI OMAP 3, Lynch says. Talking about battery life now. Battery is not user-replaceable.

7:39-7:41 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): No Nook apps for this device. Memory is 2GB internal with microSD expansion slot. Original Nook pricing is now $119 and $169 (for 3G version) until supplies last. Device runs on Android 2.1.

7:42 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Lynch says B&N is looking into international opportunities ("lots of interest from folks abroad for their devices") but nothing to announce today. PDF should be doable. Will ask later about Word.

7:42-7:45 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Last question was from Mashable. Something about what are the three biggest software innovations in the device. Talking about the touch screen, Neonode infrared technology.

7:48 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): I just asked about whether B&N would do a Nook with Special Offers. Lynch said, "No ads on Nooks."

7:50 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): Everyone should be aware that Amazon will [likely] do this same device within the next few months. Just an FYI. There will be a smaller Kindle this fall IMHO (with a touch screen).

7:51 a.m. PT (David Carnoy): OK, that's it folks. Going to try to shoot a video now. Thanks for participating.

7:52 a.m. PT (John Falcone): David's hands-on impressions (and video!) of the new Nook will be live on CNET soon... stay tuned.

7:55 a.m. PT (John Falcone): A final recap, in the meantime: The new Nook is an E Ink reading device with a 6-inch Pearl touch screen. It's 7.5 ounces, has battery life up to two months, 2GB storage plus MicroSD expansion, and built-in Wi-Fi (but no 3G). It will be available June 10 for $139. We'll have more coverage including hands-on impressions and video throughout the day. Thanks for joining us!

The initial, bare-bones version of this story was posted yesterday at 1:06 p.m. PT.