As the company promised, Barnes & Noble has delivered a software update to its 7-inch NOOK Color devices that push them still more in the direction of a general-purpose Android tablet, and away from being a standalone e-book reader. Some customers have rooted their NOOK Colors and installed custom ROMs, already turning their devices into general tablets.
The software update delivers Android
2.2 (Froyo) to the NOOK Color. With that, the NOOK Color now has access to Adobe's Flash 10.1. The update does not, however, add the general Android Market to the device.
However, customers can use the new NOOK
Apps store. There are approximately 125 apps available, all of which are customized for the NOOK Color. Although that sounds like a small number (and it is), at least Angry Birds
is among those, as is the Pulse news reader.
End users can either wait for the OTA update to hit their device, or they can go and download
and install it manually.
A new beta app was also unveiled on Monday. Developed in-house, it's called "NOOK Friends," and integrates with Facebook and Twitter as well as the NOOK Color's built-in contact list.
What does this mean for Amazon.com? It's already rumored (expected) that the Internet retailer will unveiled a color Kindle, most likely running Android (the Amazon Appstore is a huge clue). Exactly when that will happen is the question, but the further that the NOOK Color moves toward being a general tablet, the more swiftly Amazon.com will need to respond.