Another Nook shipping disaster? Nook WiFi delays at BestBuy

Disclaimer: Just because the Nook WiFi is delayed 1-2 weeks at BestBuy (including for preorders) doesn’t mean all Nook WiFis are. It does, however, hint at the possibility of another B&N Nook shipping fiasco.

Had ordered a Nook WiFi from BestBuy (to be able to compare it with the $189 Kindle). This was an hour or two after it was released (7:27 am EST on the day it first became available). The date was June 21st and the time isn’t shown on the order page so only have the time of the confirmation email. The order included expedited shipping. 

Best Buy clearly said that pre-order release date is 28th June and that it would arrive by July 1st, 2010.

Got an email at 1:01 am today (June 29th) from BestBuy with this rather cryptic message -

Subject: Your Item is backordered.

The item listed below is not yet available to be shipped. We expect to ship it within the next 1-2 weeks. We will ship the item sooner if it becomes available.

They also point me to the BestBuy forum for more details but there are none. The Best Buy site shows the Nook WiFi as backordered and shipping in 1-2 weeks so there’s definitely some delay.

Why is Nook WiFi missing? Why just from BestBuy?

B&N’s site shows the Nook WiFi’s status as ‘Usually Ships within 24 hours’ and yet BestBuy has to wait 1-2 weeks. What’s causing the shipping delay and is this yet another B&N delay?

Can’t help thinking that we might be on the verge of another B&N logistics failure.

An order at 7:27 am on the day the Nook WiFi became available for order is about as early as you can get. Most people weren’t even up yet (it was just 4:27 on the West Coast) and nearly everyone else was unaware the Nook WiFi was available. So the ‘It sold out really quickly’ argument doesn’t apply.

Aren’t B&N aware people will just cancel their orders?

My hands are tied because of having to review the Nook WiFi. Most people who ordered the Nook early were unaware that soon there would be a $189 Kindle and a $139 refurbished Kindle 2 US. By delaying their orders B&N are making them rethink their decision.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if there are other people who are having their preorders delayed and being welcomed to the Nook family with its tradition of shipping delays. It also would not be a surprise if a significant portion of them decided to cancel their orders and get a Kindle instead.

Nook prices drop to $149 and $199, Nook WiFi Specifications

Just a quick update to the news that Nook WiFi will be launching for $149 on Wednesday. In fact, you can already order it at Best Buy (the link below) or at B&N. It’s not yet available in stores and will be available in select B&N and Best Buy stores starting Wednesday.

Engadget commenters redeem themselves

Just as my hope in humanity was at an all time low someone posted links to the Nook at Best Buy. It’s true.

  1. The current Nook is $199 and available to buy.
  2. The new Nook is $149 and available to preorder. Best Buy shows it as arriving on July 1st, 2010 if you pick expedited shipping.

The Nook WiFi is here and this time B&N executives don’t make fools of themselves by announcing the product 5-6 weeks early.

Nook WiFi Specifications

  1. $149.
  2. 6″ eInk display.  
  3. WiFi support.
  4. 2 GB storage space.
  5. MicroSD Memory Card.
  6. Lithium Polymer battery.
  7. 7.7″ by 4.9″ by 0.5″.
  8. Weighs 12.1 oz.
  9. MP3 support and USB support.
  10. Changeable Font sizes.

Here’s the write-up from Best Buy -

  • 6″ eInk® Vizplex™ Electronic Paper Display
    Reads like a printed page and is clearly visible even in bright sunlight. Swipe the 3.5″ color touch screen below to browse your library. Adjustable font size for customized reading.
  • 2GB internal memory
    Provides space for storing up to 1500 eBooks or up to 26 hours of audio.
  • Built-in microSD memory card slot
    For accessing eBooks and other digital content stored on microSD memory cards (not included).
  • Supports a variety of media formats
    Including PDF, ePub, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, PDB and MP3 formats.
  • 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
    For private listening.
  • Micro USB 2.0 port
    For fast data transfer.
  • Wi-Fi wireless LAN
    Connect to the Internet without wires.
  • Up to 10 days of reading
    On a single battery charge. Up to 3.5 hours charging time
  • B&N seem to have produced a $149 Nook that’s only missing the 3G. They’re going to make out like bandits.

    Previous Version of Post:

    A commenter, Joesph, at Engadget has pointed out that if you do searches like ‘new Nook’ on Google you can see an advertisement from B&N that states -

    Nook – starting at $149.

    BarnesandNoble.com/nook

    Introducing 2 New Low Nook Prices. Now $149 – $199. Free Shipping.

    So it seems that not only are B&N launching a $149 Nook WiFi they are also dropping the price of the Nook from $259 to $199. Either that or they have 2 new models arriving at the $149 and $199 price points.

    Whatever it is, it’s pretty impressive and you have to wonder how Amazon will respond.

    Quick thought on comments on Engadget

    Let’s just say it now makes perfect sense to me why even Engadget themselves have their comments Off by default. That’s got to be some sort of record – even the site itself hides its commenters. Wow!

    Low and Lower

    It’s heartwarming to read the huge number of people who feel -

    1. That they will now buy an eReader.

      If the Wi-Fi only nook costs that much I might actually pick one up. I don’t really need a giant iPod Touch er… I mean iPad…. considering that I already own an iPhone.

    2. That they are just waiting for eReader prices to reach $100. Here are a few sample comments -

      Comment 1:
      Stiillll a little wary of buying one, but it’s definitely the top choice for dedicated readers at that price.

      Comment 2:
      So a 3G radio costs $110? Damn.

      $150 is a good price but I’d rather see it at around $100. Is it the eink keeping the price up? I was in B&N this weekend and got hands on and it just didn’t seem like there was enough beefy-ness to the thing to be keeping the price that high

    Apparently we are going to sell a couple million Nooks if the $149 version isn’t a mutilated version of the $259 Nook. Update: It isn’t and yes, B&N might shift a few million of these this year – So much for the death of eReaders.

    Sony patents a dual touchscreen eReader, Nook Lite gets FCC Approval

    The third generation of eReaders are set to battle it out in a major Kindle vs Nook vs Sony war that’ll decide which is the best dedicated reading device of 2010 and who wins the 2010 Holiday Season.

    Earlier today we covered a bunch of Kindle 3 release date and feature possibilities – an August release of a higher contrast, faster, thinner Kindle 3 seems the likeliest. There was also speculation that Amazon might be lining up LG Display’s color ePaper screens for Kindle 4.

    Well, Sony and B&N have strong challengers lined up for Kindle 3 and Kindle 4. Sony in particular might motivate Amazon to incorporate that color LG Display into a Kindle sooner rather than later.

    Sony’s dual touchscreen eReader

    GoRumors has dug up a Sony patent application that is almost as cool as Qualcomm’s triple screen, bends into a million shapes, magic device.

    The key details from the Sony dual screen eReader patent are -

    1. Sony call it an ‘Electronic Book with enhanced features’
    2. It can be set up as a two paged book or as a display plus keyboard. Functionality changes based on amount of rotation of the hinge or the user pressing a key.
    3. You can switch between portrait and landscape mode.
    4. There’s an in-built accelerometer.
    5. User can choose the language on the keyboard. 
    6. It’s battery can be connected to and charged by a solar charger.
    7. The patent explicitly talks about storing electronic books and displaying text.
    8. It says that ‘in some embodiments’ there may be a GPS receiver.
    9. There’s talk of a word processing application being supported. Apparently when we go into screen+keyboard mode it becomes a word processing computer. The change is triggered simply by adjusting the angle between the screens and their orientation (they keep talking about using either clockwise or counterclockwise rotation).
    10. The patent specifically mentions English, Japanese (kanji) and Russian (cyrillic) keyboard layouts.

    While the mention of touch and word processing are making every other blog assume it’s a Laptop/eReader hybrid the patent only talks about reading and word processing. Sounds more like the holy grail of replacing paper – an eReader plus eWriter.

    It’s definitely an eReader+eWriter

    Quite frankly, this seems likelier to be a Kindle competitor than a Sony competitor. The dual touchscreens that can be read like a book and the focus on using it for electronic books certainly indicate that. There’s no mention of video or a browser or any other laptop or tablet functions.

    It’s also interesting that the patent only mentions ‘touchscreen’ and not LCD.

    The background and summary sections of the Patent only talk about it being an eReader -

    Electronic books have been provided in which a person can read electronic book files stored on a storage medium in a compact, hand-held housing.

    Text is presented on a display of the housing, and more than a single electronic book can be stored on the storage medium. In this way, a person can in effect transport a large number of books for reading at the person’s leisure in a single lightweight electronic book form factor.

    The patent indicates that the ‘back’ panel may or may not have touch input.

    This patent is not as cutting edge or intricate as Qualcomm’s triple screen device patent – However, it seems much more focused on being a reading device and it seems to be much more practical.

    Sony is going to raise the bar significantly if it can get this device out in 2010. It’ll make the Sony Reader the coolest reading option.

    Venture Beat thinks it’s an alternative to netbook laptops that doubles as an eReader

    Venture Beat seems to feel very strongly that this Sony dual touch screen device will do more than just read -

    Sony’s device seems a more direct attempt to create an alternative to low-cost netbook laptops, one that doubles as a book-like reader. The obvious two benefits are a lower overall price and only one gadget to carry instead of two.

    The concept of a laptop with a touchscreen keyboard has a novelty appeal … Hopefully for Sony, they’ll be able to build a sexy-looking device that can serve as a status symbol

    It brings up a good question – Sony want to take on both Kindle and iPad. Is this dual touchscreen device a Kindle rival or an iPad rival?

    My money’s on it being an eReader+eWriter and not an iWhatever.  

    Given that the patent only mentions electronic books and word processing, and that Sony’s CEO has been adamant about focusing on a dedicated reading device, it’s safe to say that Sony are planning on taking the Touch Edition and sexing it up while also making it much more usable.

    Amazon, Sony, and B&N have all committed to the concept of a device primarily focused on reading and don’t see any of the 3 ditching eReaders any time soon. Speaking of Barnes & Noble.

    Nook Lite gets approved by the FCC

    Nook Lite might arrive sooner than expected – which would be a huge surprise given B&N’s official dual mottos of Better Late than Never and Anticipation increases the Pleasure.

    Engadget think they might have stumbled across a new version of the Nook and perusing the FCC documents confirms they have (they wouldn’t call it Nook WiFi otherwise) -

    1. It’s a device from Barnes & Noble.  
    2. It’s called the BNRV100 eBook Reader. Project code names are Bravo Lite and Nook WiFi.  
    3. If this is the Bravo Lite you have to wonder what Bravo is.
    4. The battery compartment at the back is at almost the exact same spot as on the Nook.
    5. The Test Report specifically says ‘Ebook, WLAN and USB Ports without WWAN’ which translates as eBook device with WiFi and USB but lacking 3G. It also refers to the device as Nook WiFi and the company as Barnes & Noble.
    6. The Test Report says that the radio module is manufactured by Marvel.
    7. The antenna is manufactured by Walsin Technology Corporation – the part number is RGFRA1903041A5T.
    8. Nook Lite uses WiFi 802.11b and 802.11g.
    9. The SAR report clearly indicates there will be support for both portrait and landscape modes.

    It was submitted on May 20th, 2010 (although the authorization letter to the company that handles interfacing with the FCC is dated May 3rd) and a submission to the FCC indicates a release is imminent.

    There’s also a letter of confidentiality asking the FCC to withhold some information -

    Schematic Diagram, Block Diagram, Theory of Operation, Antenna Specification

    [180 day confidentiality] External Photos, Internal Photos, Test Setup Photos, User Manual

    It certainly seems like we’ll see Nook Lite arrive very, very soon.

    What price will the Nook Lite retail at?

    The 3G modem on the Kindle is around $60 (supposedly) so the initial guess would be a Nook Lite at $199. However, B&N have been aggressive with pricing in the past (they debuted the Nook at $259 despite the dual screens) and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them come in at $179 or even $149.

    At $149 the Nook Lite might be a big hit – you still get B&N’s store, LendMe, all the apps, Android, the browser, an eInk screen, and WiFi. At $199 it’s not as good a deal as the Kindle or even the Nook.  

    A $149 Nook Lite would put considerable pressure on Amazon to release a lower-priced Kindle.

    Big news on Kindle 3, Nook Lite, and Sony Reader Dual Screen – all in one day. 2010 is beginning, once again, to look like the Year of the eReader.

    Project Encore – Nook 2, Nook Lite arrive in 2010

    Gizmodo claims that a tipster tipped them off on Barnes & Noble’s Nook 2 plans for 2010 -

    1. A full browser will be added to the Nook via a firmware update in the third week of April 2010 (next week).
    2. By the end of the second quarter B&N will release Nook Lite. It’s a $199 WiFi only eReader.
    3. Nook 2 (also called Project Encore) will release later in the year.

    The Full Browser Software Update

    Adding a full browser to the Nook would be a big step forward. Given that the Nook has WiFi support, Android, and that tiny color touchscreen the lack of a browser was particularly puzzling. With the rumored update users will be able to check email, check the news, and so forth.

    B&N will probably restrict browsing to over WiFi only. Perhaps the browser will be on the eInk screen, perhaps it will leverage a combination of the touchscreen and the eInk screen. In either case it will add some much-needed functionality and make the WiFi very useful.

    Nook Lite – Is $60 less worth the loss of 3G?

    The price for the Nook Lite is a bit puzzling. There isn’t much difference in the value proposition -

    1. Nook at $259 with free 3G downloads and free connection to the store. 
    2. Nook Lite at $199 with WiFi as the only option.

    You could argue that paying $60 is well worth it – in return you get free wireless downloads and 3G connectivity. Especially since Nook uses AT&T and down the line that might mean International wireless downloads.

    If Nook Lite comes with a touchscreen or another cool feature it might be a particularly good value at $199. Otherwise, the price should be $149.

    Nook 2 – the Mysteries of Project Encore

    Project Encore seems a particularly inappropriate name given the disaster that was the actual launch of the Nook. Perhaps they’re hoping for an encore of the ‘sold out and going for double the price on eBay’ excitement we saw when the Nook got sold out for Christmas.

    Here are my guesses for the top 5 features Nook 2 will have – 

    1. Touch screen.
    2. Color Screen. 
    3. Text to Speech.
    4. App Store. Perhaps Android Apps. Perhaps Nook specific Apps.
    5. Break-resistant or hard to break screen.

    B&N have shown an uncanny ability to integrate Kindle weak-spots into the Nook. The original Nook’s feature list was literally a list of most requested Kindle features (PDF support, ePub support, SD card slot, open platform, etc.) so it would not be a surprise if the Nook 2 combined some/most of the above 5 killer features with a few obvious Kindle weak points – limited PDF support, lack of folders, etc.

    At best Kindle 3 vs Nook 2 will be the most exciting match-up of the year. At worst Nook 2 aka Project Encore will force Amazon to make Kindle 3 a much better product.

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