Nook Simple Touch packs surprise Web browser

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch eReader (CEO William Lynch)

Barnes & Noble debuted its new Nook Simple Touch ereader last month, the company touted the unit’s touch-sensitive screen, improved contrast, better performance, and sleek design. But now that the units are reaching customers, they’ve found a bit of a secret feature in the device: a rudimentary Web browser. Just enter a URL into the ereader’s search bar and the unit will load the site in a built-in Web browser.

The Nook Simple Touch is based on Android 2.1, and while Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color is expanding into the wider world of Android applications, some ereader users have lamented that Barnes & Noble hadn’t done more with Android on the Simple Touch. Turns out, the company kind of has done more: limited Web browsing opens up whole new realms of possibilities for the ereader.

Of course, as video from The eBook Reader demonstrates, the Nook Simple Touch’s E Ink display doesn’t always make for the best mobile Web experience—which is probably why Barnes & Noble hasn’t flagged the browser as an official feature. However, there are many cases where some Web access is better than no Web access at all.

Of course, users who really want to tap into the Nook Simple Touch’s possibilities will need to root the device to install their own software—which, of course, falls outside the bounds of what Barnes & Noble wants people to do with the device. After all, literature fans probably haven’t lived until they’ve tried to play Words with Friends on an E Ink screen.

Emerging Tech

Dark side of the moon: Why lunar landing conspiracies flourish online

Social media platforms seemed lovely at first, places to share dumb jokes and the minutiae of everyday life. Those sites have an underbelly, however, and have been a breeding ground for conspiracy theories.
Emerging Tech

Trippy VR demo reads your brain waves to create sleep-inducing visuals

Struggle to get to sleep? Researchers in Australia have been experimenting with ways to combine a person’s brain activity with virtual reality to create a kind of VR lullaby machine.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starship can land on the moon by 2021

SpaceX boss Elon Musk said recently that he believes its Starship spacecraft can land on the moon by 2021, adding that he hopes his company can help to build a "permanently occupied lunar base" there.
Emerging Tech

Life after launch: Inside the massive effort to preserve NASA’s space artifacts

The Apollo 11 mission put a man on the moon, but NASA didn’t necessarily preserve every step of the process. Researchers are trying to rescue the history on Earth and on the moon.
Emerging Tech

Watch SpaceX’s parachute tests for its soon-to-be-manned Crew Dragon capsule

SpaceX is currently developing its Crew Dragon capsule to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Now, a new video shows the parachute systems for the capsules being tested.
Emerging Tech

A.I. cameras could help stomp out wildfires before they become disastrous

This summer marks one year since California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire season ever. Could cutting-edge technology help avoid future incidents? One startup thinks so.
Emerging Tech

How pioneering pilot Jackie Cochran helped and hurt the Women in Space Program

Before Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, Jackie Cochran funded the Women in Space Program. The pioneering woman pilot never realized her dream of venturing into space.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff! Here are all the moon missions happening in the next decade

The next 10 years are poised to be the most significant in lunar history in decades. What do we have to look forward to? Check out this handy guide to the coming decade of moon missions.
Emerging Tech

From the moon to mass production: 10 pieces of modern tech indebted to Apollo

This article is part of Apollo: A Lunar Legacy, a multi-part series that explores the technological advances behind Apollo 11, their influence on modern day, and what's next for the moon. You may have heard that freeze-dried food was…
Photography

50 years later, the first camera on the moon is still collecting lunar dust

The cameras aboard Apollo 11 captured some of history's most iconic images, including shots of Earth and footprints on the lunar surface. To commemorate the first moon landing, we look back at how Hasselblad's stripped shooters came to be.
Emerging Tech

Mars 2020 rover enters its final year of engineering before launch

The countdown has begun for the last year of development before the Mars 2020 launches between July 17, 2020 and August 5, 2020. Progress on finalizing the rover is right on track, according to NASA.
Emerging Tech

Could Mars’ now-barren Gale Crater lake have once supported life?

The Gale Crater is the site of an ancient lake which existed for millions of years. But even after the lake disappeared, groundwater could have remained for billions of years. Now, a team of scientists is searching for clues of life there.
Emerging Tech

Practically perfect in every way: Hubble shows galaxy with amazing symmetry

This week's Hubble image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 2985, located over 70 million light-years away. Hubble scientists describe NGC 2985 as having near-perfect symmetry, showing tightly wound spiral arms which converge in the center.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Wearable chargers and AI-enhanced keyboards

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!