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Nook e-reader gets e-mail, apps store

Associated Press / April 26, 2011

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NEW YORK — Barnes & Noble Inc. yesterday added an applications store and an e-mail program to its Nook Color e-reader, bringing it closer to working like a tablet computer.

The $249 device has a color touchscreen, which gives it capabilities beyond those of Amazon.com’s Kindle; its gray-scale screen is not touch-sensitive.

The Nook Color runs Google Inc.’s Android software, which is used on phones and tablets, but the device does not run standard Android applications. Instead, Barnes & Noble is encouraging developers to submit specially written applications to its Nook Apps store.

Barnes & Noble is also adding the ability to play Flash content on the Nook Color’s Web browser.

Jonathan Shar, head of Barnes & Noble’s “digital newsstand,’’ said the Nook is not intended to go compete directly with full-fledged tablets such as Apple’s iPad, for which there are more than 65,000 apps. “The target for this is still people who love reading,’’ Shar said.

The new features are available as a free software update for current Nook owners.