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New Nook to mimic Sony's e-ink touch screen?

Barnes & Noble has filed a trademark for the phrase "The Simple Touch Reader," raising speculation that the next Nook e-reader will be affordable and have a touch screen.

Some of Barnes & Noble's recent trademark filings.

If you're looking for clues as to what the next Nook e-reader from Barnes & Noble will be, a quick check of what trademarks the company has registered might give you a strong hint.

Fission LLC, the front company Barnes & Noble uses for filing trademarks, recently registered the phrase "The Simple Touch Reader."

You can read what you want into that, but we take it as a strong indication that the upcoming Nook, which will be announced on May 24, will be an affordable monochrome e-ink touch-screen model that operates similarly to Sony's Readers (and has the E-Ink Pearl screen found in the Sony Readers and Kindle).

Sony's latest batch of e-readers use a special infrared-sensing touch-screen technology from a company called Neonode that works very well. In an effort to bring costs down and match the price points of the Kindle WiFi and Kindle 3G ($139 and $189 respectively), we suspect that Barnes & Noble won't include the color LCD strip that's found on the original Nook. We also expect the new Nook to be an Android-based device since both the original Nook and Nook Color are Android-powered. And finally, the new Nook may very well be smaller and lighter than the Kindle.

It's also worth noting that Barnes & Noble (under Fission LLC) also registered the trademark MyNook on May 4 and already registered Nook 2 last year. In the field "Goods and Services," MyNook is loosely described as:

Web portal services in the nature of providing a web-based system and online portal for users to remotely manage, administer and control electronic readers, handheld and computer devices, data, digital media, software applications and electronic publications, namely, books, e-books, magazines, newspapers, text and images.

Stay tuned. We'll have more concrete information as it becomes available.

More: The company behind Sony's e-reader touch-screen technology