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Nook Update Adds Games, Basic Web Browser

Barnes & Noble has released version 1.3 of its Nook software, adding new capabilities to its dual-screen, Android-based e-reader. Among the new capabilities are a “read in store” feature—currently in beta—that enables users to browser complete eBooks titles while they’re physically in Barnes & Noble retail stores. The update also adds a chess and sodoku games, an updated, home screen, and a “basic” Web browser that enabled users to load Web sites and check email on the device’s E Ink display while connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi.

“Our digital customers will feel at home in our stores with Read In Store, which puts a digital spin on the popular Barnes & Noble bookstore experience that millions of our customers enjoy each day. At no cost, NOOK customers can browse through our robust collection of digital content while enjoying their favorite beverage in our cafe,” said Tony Astarita, Vice President, Digital Products, Barnes & Noble.com.

“We know our customers enjoy discovering great reads in our bookstores. So, we worked closely with our valued publishing partners to offer this innovative digital experience,” said Barnes & Noble’s VP for digital products Tony Astarita, in a statement. “We also included new games and many other entertaining features to continue to deliver on our promise to make Nook the most fun, easy-to-use eBook Reader for people who love to read.”

One upshot of adding the basic Web browsing capability is that Nook users will be able to connect to the Internet using a greater variety of Wi-Fi hotspots, such as those that require users to enter connection credentials through a Web browser. While using the Web browser, pages are displayed on the black-and-white (and slow) E Ink display, while users use the Nook’s color touch screen for navigation and a virtual keyboard.

The update is free and available for download from Barnes & Noble’s Web site; users who connect their Nooks to the Internet via Wi-Fi should automatically receive the update during the next week.