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Pandigital Novel ereaders gain Android apps

Although tablet devices like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab can function as ereaders as well as tablet computers, one complaint about dedicated ereaders is that they often lack the extensibility and flexibility of tablets—and it’s particularly galling when they run a capable operating system under the hood. Looking to tap in to—or perhaps ease—that frustration, Pandigital has announced a firmware update to its 7-inch Pandigital Novel ereaders the enabls users to download and run Android applications to extend the functionality of their devices.

“The transition to a hybrid Android media tablet/color eReader was a natural evolution for the Pandigital Novel product line,” said Pandigital VP Jason Topel, in a statement. “Conceived from the outset on the Android operating system, the Pandigital Novel was the first non-phone Android device of its kind in North America when it was launched last June. We wanted to take the product one step further by allowing our customers to personalize the product by downloading the apps they want.”

The Pandigital Novel readers feature a 7-inch color display and integrated Wi-Fi capability, along with built-in functionality that enables them to serve as an alarm clock, photo frame, audio and video player, along with enabling portable email and Web access. The Novel ereaders tap into Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook store that offers more than 2 million ebooks, magazines, and newspapers; now, users will be able to customize their Novels with add-on Android apps. The firmware update also enables users to access a variety of different filetypes, including DOC, DOCX, TXT, XLS, XLSX, PPT, and PPTX.

The Pandigital Novels have a suggested retail price of $199.99, although they should be available this month with a promotional price of $149.99. The firmware update for existing customers is available for free download.