After making its much-anticipated debut Tuesday, the new Barnes & Noble e-reader is already being described as a "Kindle-Killer" by tech experts and enthusiasts. Online reviewers have clearly been wowed by the sleek-looking Nook, sporting a 3.5 inch color multi-touch screen control panel below the main 6-inch reading screen.
"If you just ordered a Kindle, stop reading now or you're in for a giant dose of buyer's remorse," warned Charlie Sorrel of Wired's Gadget Lab, writing about the Nook.
Besides the color display, the ability to share books through the Barnes & Noble device-any title, one time, for up to 14 days-was cited as another key advantage of the Nook over the Kindle. Users can loan books to other Nook customers or to devices running B&N's e-reader software such as the iPhone, BlackBerry and PCs.
Gartner analyst Allen Weiner highlighted the fact that by supporting the open ePub format, the Nook gives consumers more options than Amazon's proprietary .azw software. The Nook will also load and display PDF documents, which only the Kindle DX model does.
"Anyway you slice Barnes and Noble's announcement, the Nook is a game changer for the current market and one that will force Amazon's hand even with Amazon's recent release of an international Kindle," wrote Weiner in a blog post.
The question is what Amazon's next move will be to stay on top of the emerging e-reader market. Adopt the ePub format? Come out with a color display? Cut the price on the existing Kindle lineup? All of the above?
The true test of whether B&N has a Kindle-Killer on its hands will be after it hits stores shelves in November. If it starts selling strongly, and stands up to regular use by consumers, that will only shorten Amazon's response time.