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Barnes & Noble gets FCC nod for e-reader

Lest there be any question of its intent on its own electronic book reader, the company gets regulatory approval to sell such a device. Plus: an Android-based clue?

Spring Design's Alex e-reader
Spring Design's Alex e-reader, announced Monday. Could it offer clues about the expected book gadget from Barnes & Noble? Spring Design

It's not like it wasn't already pretty clear that Barnes & Noble is planning to do an e-reader, what with the leaked photos and invitation and all.

But for skeptics who needed more convincing, the company has also received FCC approval to start selling such a device. The OK came last month, but most of the juicy parts--the external photos and user manual and stuff were marked confidential.

It should all become totally official on Tuesday, when Barnes & Noble has its event at the Chelsea Piers in New York.

Meanwhile, a company called Spring Design on Monday announced plans for a dual-screen Android-based e-reader that sounds a whole lot like what was depicted in those leaked photos.

In its press release, Spring Design said it is working with "selected strategic partners" to have the device on the market by the end of the year.

According to the announcement, Spring Design's device features a 6-inch e-ink screen and a 3.5-inch color display, and has full browsing abilities.

"This is the start of a whole new experience of reading content on e-books, potentially igniting a whole new industry in multimedia e-book publishing for secondary authors to create supplementary content that is hyper linked to the text. We are bringing life to books with audio, video, and annotations," Spring Design CEO Priscilla Lu said in a statement. "This gives readers the ability to fully leverage the resources on the Web, and the tools available in search engines to augment the reading experience."

Also, Spring Design's device is called Alex, while Barnes & Noble's device is said to be called Alexa.

Updated 11:30 a.m. PT: A Spring Design representative said that, although it is in talks with all major book players including Barnes & Noble, it is not involved in the product that Barnes & Noble is set to introduce on Tuesday.