The much awaited Android 2.2 Froyo update for the Nook Color is now available, marking the first official transition of the popular e-reader into the tablet realm. Barnes & Noble though is still sticking to the ‘e-reader first’ tagline irrespective of the fact that the device has already been rooted by a lot of users in order to run not only Android 2.2 Froyo but even the next iteration, Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The official update will make it easier for those who aren’t much proficient with the nitty gritties of the hacking procedure while also keeping things simple for them.
So what changes with the Nook Color post the update? To begin with, the latest B&N update for the Nook Color – version 2.1 to be precise will usher in Android Froyo in the device. What this means is that this will open up the Color that has so far being restricted to the realm of e-book reader into a proper tablet with a much broader scope in both functionality and capability. A host of goodies can now be associated with the Color which includes a built-in e-mail client, a new app store along with an enhancement of the all round performance of the Color.
The Nook Color will also be compatible with Adobe Flash with the latest update. So users will now be able to watch You Tube videos on the Colors which is the result of a lot of hard work on part of both Adobe and B&N to ensure that Flash files are played back in the most hassle free manner. This will provide a more solid internet experience and the ability to interact with most audio, video and other content delivery systems online.
Another great thing with the update is the new found ability for users to buy apps for the Nook Color. Unfortunately, the Nook Color will only have access to B&N’s very own NOOK Apps store and not the official Google Market. The B&N NOOK Apps store has just 125 apps on offer right now, a far cry from what is available at the Google Market which easily has several times more. The majority of apps on offer are paid apps with average price ranging from $2.99 to $5.99. Of course, there are a lot more apps coming our way in the not so distant future with over 5,000 developers in the B&N’s dev community working hard to populate the NOOK Apps store with all the apps that you might need. However, here too, B&N is taking care to have more apps on board that would lend weight to the e-book reading credentials of the Color above anything else.
As for the native e-mail client that the Nook Color will now boast of, the ‘Nook Mail’ can be considered the basic Android e-mail client which has been optimized for operation in the Color. ‘Nook Friend’ is another great app that will be available on the Color. As the name itself suggest, the Nook Friend will further provide impetus to the social networking cause and is not just about the ability to lend books to others. For the app also allows to write a note about the book that you are reading as well as ‘like’ books in the Store which will then get reflected as live feeds within the app, a la Facebook and so on. The app also lets you have a peek of the books that your friends can lend.
B&N has however not missed out on where its roots like – that of e-book reading. With this in mind, it has also made some nice enhancements on the e-book reading front on the Color. Like the ‘Enhanced Nook Books’ feature will allow one to watch or listen to any media files such as a video that might be embedded within the book. Then there is something for kids too as the Color will now be able to support more animation. Termed ‘Read And Play,’ the feature has been designed to make e-book reading on the Color more of a fun experience than a chore for kids.
The update will be streaming over to Nook Colors over-the-air starting today though it might take several weeks for all users to have the update on their Colors. Or if you just can’t wait for the update to come rolling in, you can start off with the update process on your own. Click here to manually download the latest firmware update.