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Nook Color will get a major boost from the Android OS

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(Read caption) Nook Color is the successor to the original Barnes and Noble Nook, pictured here.

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Nook Color, the new e-reading device from Barnes and Noble, will utilize Android technology, allowing users to do everything from browsing the Web to checking email, all with a couple taps of the touchscreen. That's the news today from Barnes and Noble, which said the Nook Color should hit on Nov. 19. And anyway you slice it, this is a full-featured e-reader.

Among the pertinent specs on the Nook Color: a 7-inch VividView touch screen, an audio player that holds up to 100 hours of music or voice files, a Wi-Fi antenna, 8GB of internal memory, and approximately eight hours of battery life. Barnes and Noble said that it would soon open a Nook Developer program, where third-party designers could submit applications for the Nook Color.

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"With Nook Developer, we're opening our doors to content providers and developers to change the future of reading together," Barnes & Noble exec Jamie Iannone wrote today in a statement. "We invite developers across all platforms to join us in growing our e-reading ecosystem by creating engaging content and reading-centric applications for our millions of customers to enjoy on Nook Color and beyond."

In other words, the Nook Color is basically an Android-tablet, lite.

Back in June, Barnes & Noble announced it would drop the price on its 3G-enabled Nook e-reader to $199 and introduce a Wi-Fi-only Nook priced at $149. Both models were intended to compete with similar models from Amazon – a relatively inexpensive Wi-Fi Kindle was recently unveiled – and help boost the Nook's chances in an already crowded e-reader market.

In an interview with PC World at the time, Tony Astarita, vice president for digital products at Barnes &, said that the Wi-Fi-only Nook would fulfill widespread demand for a low-priced, simple e-reading device (as opposed to more dynamic, full-featured offerings). "It's targeted at someone who's a solid reader but someone with Wi-Fi availability at home or outside the home and is not as mobile a traveler or reader as a 3G person," Astarita said.