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Barnes & Noble Introduces Wi-Fi Nook

Nook 3G prices have been slashed in addition to the new Wi-Fi only e-reader that includes AT&T hotspot access.

Barnes & Noble Drops Nook Price
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Barnes & Noble Drops Nook Price
Barnes & Noble has dropped the price of the Nook, as competition in the electronic-reader market heats up with the entry of a variety of devices, such as Apple's iPad.

B&N on Monday slashed the price of the Nook 3G from $259 to $199 and introduced a Wi-Fi-only version for $149. The latter comes with complimentary access to any AT&T hotspot, while the 3G model can tap into the carrier's wireless broadband network at no charge for buying and downloading e-books from the bookseller's online store. The 3G model also supports Wi-Fi.

B&N cut prices about the same time rival Borders started shipping the $150 Kobo e-reader. However, B&N has done one better than the Kobo by including Wi-Fi with the lower-priced Nook. The Kobo requires a PC or Mac to download e-books.

Along with Borders, Apple is ratcheting up the competitive pressure with the iPad, a tablet-style computer released in April. Apple launched its online bookstore with the iPad, which has a starting price of $489, but offers multimedia capabilities, such as video and music; Web browsing, e-mail and other features not found in dedicated e-readers like the Nook. Other computer makers, such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell, plan to release iPad competitors in the future.

To compete with the growing number of tablets like the iPad, analysts have said the price of e-readers will have to fall. With B&N lowering prices, its likely competitors will follow. Along with Borders, B&N competitors include Amazon. The online retailer's Kindle was the biggest selling e-reader last year.

While similar to the original Nook, the Nook 3G and Nook Wi-Fi are a bit lighter at 11.6 ounces instead of 12.1 ounces. The older model's grey back cover has been replaced with a removable white one that a customer can replace with one of four additional back cover colors.

Along with the e-reader refresh, B&N released a software update. Version 1.4 primarily adds complimentary access to AT&T's nationwide Wi-Fi network, as well as continued access to B&N's network in the retailer's stores.

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