Barnes & Noble's attempt to beat Amazon's Kindle resulted in Nook Color, the Rolls Royce of eReaders with specifications which are in fact capable of competing with Dell Streak 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Ubergizmo reported that Developer/hacker @deeper.blue posted a video of how he ported the tablet specific rendition of Android, the Android 3.0 or Honeycomb on Nook Color. The developer was able to boot Nook with Android 3.0 but the functionality was still limited.
Also Barnes & Noble said that it is providing a minor update to Nook color firmware which is due to enhance its Wi-Fi connectivity and will bring pinch-and-zoom feature apart from fixing certain bugs in the eReader device.
However, CNET reported that if the device was rooted then the update will clear the custom firmware. Rooting converts Nook into a full fledged Android tablet.
Since Barnes & Noble released Nook Color in October 2010, the device has been touted as more than an eReader, as it has the potential to be upgraded to become an Android tablet in the league of Dell Streak 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab which sport a 7-inch form factor as Nook Color.
Engadget had reported that Nook Color runs a custom Android based on Android 2.1 which pales in comparison to Dell Streak 7 and Galaxy Tab which run on Android 2.2 or Froyo. Also, with Android 3.0 or Honeycomb updates looming the Nook Color may not be able to hold up against these tablets. However, Streak 7 will not receive an Android 3.0 update as the company claims that the update is not needed.
Nook Color is due to receive an Android 2.2 update this year. Also developer hacker deeper blue's attempt to port Android 3.0 on Nook Color revealed that the functionality is limited possibly due to limited processor capacity.
Nook Color runs on a TI OMAP 3621 processor which clocks 800MHz while other Android 7-inch tablets Streak 7 and Galaxy Tab are powered by dual-core processors, running on Tegra 2 and Hummingbird 1.2GHz respectively. Recently released Android 3.0 tablets like Motorola Xoom sport a 1 GHz dual-core processor. In order for Nook Color to become capable of optimizing an Android 3.0 it will require a processor upgrade.
However, Nook Color certainly beats Dell Streak 7 when it comes to screen resolution as it sports 1024x600 pixel specifications while Streak sports an 800x480 pixel resolution. The Galaxy Tab also sports 1024x600 in screen resolution.
Nook Color has 8 GB in internal memory which is expandable to 32 GB while Streak comes in 16 GB and Galaxy Tab comes in 16 GB and 32 GB configuration. Nook Color's internal storage capacity is higher than eReaders' Kindle 3's 4GB and 3 GB specification and Sony PRS 650's 2GB, thus making it more than an eReader and comparable to a standard Android tablet.
Although when it comes to RAM Nook Color offers the same configuration of 512 MB as found in Streak and Galaxy Tab.
Also Nook Color weighs about 0.98 pounds which is heavier than Kindle 3 and Sony PRS 650's weight of around 0.50 pounds. In fact Nook Color is heavier than Galaxy Tab that weighs 0.83 pounds but is a few ounces lighter than Streak which weights 1 pound. Thus it is heavier than a regular eReader and comparable to a standard Android tablet.
While details about the battery life of Streak 7 are unavailable, Nook Color's battery returns 8 hours which is higher than Galaxy Tab's 7 hours. However, compared to other eReaders that return 3 weeks and 2 weeks in battery life Nook Color seems rather challenged.
Nook Color is more than an eReader and less than a tablet, a segment that Barnes & Noble is trying to craft. However, with a $249 pricing it certainly becomes quite a draw as an affordable Android-tablet provided it is rooted.
If Barnes & Noble decides to upgrade the device and call it for what it is, it is sure to give other eReaders from Amazon and Sony a run for the money. And with its range of e-book formats available EPUB, PDF, XLS, DOC, PPT, PPS, TXT, DOCM, XLSM, PPTM, PPSX, PPSM, DOCX, XLX, PPTX it is in fact a worthy contender to 7-inch tablets too, as it offers the benefits of a tablet and an eReader.
Here is a comparison between Nook Color, Dell Streak 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab:
Dell Streak 7
Samsung Galaxy Tab
TI OMAP 3621, 800 MHz
Nvidia Tegra 2 1GHz
Hummingbird 1.2 GHz
16 GB/32 GB
5 MP rear and 1.3 MP front
3 MP rear, 1.3 front