In May 2011, Barnes and Noble released a redesigned Nook e-book reader. The new Nook is thinner and lighter than its predecessor—the Nook 1st edition. It has a 6" touchscreen, 2GB of built-in storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, and can run up to two months on a full battery charge.
The 2011 Nook supports EPUB, PDF, Adobe DRM e-book formats and can read JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP graphic files. It weighs 7.48 ounces and measures 6.5" (H) x 5" (W) x 0.47" (D). But, it lacks audio support, 3G, or a Web browser.
This week, I took a look inside the 2011 Nook and couldn't wait to see how the new device's hardware compared to the Nook 1st edition and more-recent Nook Color. After cracking open the new Nook, I have my answer. I also discovered several interesting facts about the new e-book reader, such as the battery can be replaced.
As of this writing, the 2011 Nook has a suggested retail price of $139 (US). You can still purchase the Nook 1st edition for $119 (Wi-Fi) and $169 (Wi-Fi + 3G) and the Nook Color for $249.
Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the 2011 Barnes & Noble Nook e-book reader (Wi-Fi)
Cracking Open analysis:
- Battery IS user-replaceable: Changing the 2011 Nook's Li-ion battery is more difficult than swapping out a pair of AAs in your TV remote, but not by much. You can easily access the battery by popping off the power button, removing a single Torx T5 screw, and sliding off the Nook's back cover. The battery is attached to the inside of the back cover with clear tape and is not soldered to the motherboard. Unfortunately, replacing the battery will void your warranty. Here's an excerpt from the current Nook Warranty:
Please note that opening the back cover of your NOOK to change the battery, external SD card or back cover will void this Limited Warranty, except to the extent that such opening is done through a customer-accessible opening and in accordance with the instructions provided with the NOOK.
- Same processor as the Nook Color: Both devices use the ARM Cortex A8-based Texas Instruments OMAP3621 applications processor. I hope this means we'll be able to hack the new Nook to run Android apps, as you can the Nook Color.
- Unique touchscreen solution: Instead of the capacitive or resistive technologies found in most tablets, smartphones, and e-book readers (like Nook Color), the 2011 Nook uses Neonode's zForce touchscreen system. From what I've read, their system uses a series of emitters and receivers (likely IR) to create a grid across the display screen. As you move your finger, or any object, through the grid, the zForce system detects the object's location and movement. This gives the Nook a touch-sensitive display without requiring a glass or plastic overlay above the screen.
Internal hardware and chips:
- 3.7V 1530mAh, 5.66Wh Li-Ion battery (Model No: MLP305787)
- 6" Pearl e-ink screen with Neonode zForce touchscreen
- 800MHz Texas Instruments OMAP3621 applications processor
- Texas Instruments TPS65921B Integrated Power Management IC with USB HS Transceiver
- Texas Instruments TPS65181 Power Management IC for E Ink Vizplex Enabled Electronic Paper Display
- Texas Instruments MSP430F2272 16-bit Ultra-Low-Power Microcontroller
- Texas Instruments CD74HC4067 High Speed CMOS 16-Channel Analog Multiplexer/Demultiplexer
- Texas Instruments 2624I
- SanDisk SDIN5D2-2G NAND Flash chip
- Samsung K4X2G323PC-8G08 256 mobile DDR SDRAM
- Lattice Semiconductor ispMACH 4032ZE CPLD
- Jorjin Technologies WG7310-2A 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi SiP module
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.