It’s looking more and more likely that Barnes and Noble’s e-reader announcement on May 24th is going to be related to the e-ink equipped Nook. I absolutely love mine, although it does admittedly have some shortcomings. Here are some things I hope to see B&N change (and some things I hope they keep the same).
General navigation around the Nook is atrocious. Once you’ve got your book loaded, you’re set…but until that time, actually finding your book can be an exercise in patience. Lord help you if you have a large collection on your Nook, as awkwardly scrolling through a seemingly endless list using the touchscreen can be frustrating. Speaking of the LCD screen…
Ditch the color LCD touchscreen
Upon its initial release, the color LCD touchscreen on the Nook helped set it apart from its competition. The theory behind it was sound, but the execution left much to be desired: the screen is dull, not nearly sensitive enough, and a battery hog (even when set to automatically turn off after a few seconds.) I’d like to see the LCD screen completely removed, replaced with a touchscreen-enabled e-ink screen similar to what’s in the Sony readers. If B&N is worried about keeping costs down (in an effort to better compete with the Kindle), then a Kindle-style rocker setup would also work nicely. Speaking of the Kindle…
Don’t emulate the Kindle too much
One of the major reasons I chose the Nook over the Kindle was the Nook’s lack of a keypad. Having a QWERTY on an e-book reader seems overkill, and in my opinion, completely ruins an otherwise attractive device. The rocker on the most recent iteration of the Kindle is awesome, but that horrendously ugly keypad remains. While we’re on the topic of the Kindle, I’d like to see the next e-ink Nook retain the same oversized page-turn buttons, rather than the Kindle’s slivers. I prefer the aesthetic of the larger buttons, and I feel like they fade away into the device’s body much more cleanly.
Despite the above criticisms, I absolutely LOVE my Nook. I use it to read almost every single day, and to date it’s one of my favorite gadgets. Still, it certainly has room for improvement, and I hope B&N’s announcement at the end of this month will reveal a more refined device.