After Hours

Cracking Open the 2011 Barnes & Noble Nook e-book reader (Wi-Fi)

Cracking Open the 2011 Nook: SanDisk SDIN5D2-2G NAND Flash chip

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

About

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 supp...

28 comments
darrellrisley
darrellrisley

I've read that the battery is not replaceable. After it has died and is no longer useable, would it be worthwhile to disassemble it, as shown and try to find a replacement? Or is B&N actually going to address the major complaint of a non-replaceable battery?

ElCondor11
ElCondor11

There are times when you only need a fork or a spoon; other times you want a spork. Recently bought an older Nook for my mom, and I bought the Kindle. Great devices for doing one thing: reading a book. My Kindle slips into my back jeans pocket; much easier on flights than carrying a paperback or hard book

Akais1
Akais1

I saw them in the pictures but it looked like they were pointed the wrong way. Is there a prism or mirror that redirects the beam across the screen? Are these IR laser diodes? Is there any focusing to the beam?

edward.keating
edward.keating

I have a Nook-1 WiFi that was a Christmas-2010 gift. It has the 1.5 firmware and I was a bit taken back by the shorter battery life. (I had been letting the Nook go to sleep with the E-Ink display showing the landscape scene. Even with the WiFi disabled in airplane mode it seemed to still be consuming what I considered to be a significant amount of battery. I found that actually powering down the Nook was the solution to improving the battery life. It takes about a minute to boot, but I don't need to charge it weekly now.

spencer2
spencer2

Try Ginger on an SD card to boot from

dgoodale
dgoodale

I was a little slow buying an eReader since I already have a good sized library and wasn't sure that I would enjoy the change. It took me about a week to decide I'll never go back. I have the version 1 Nook but have been satisfied with it, although longer battery life would have been nice. After reading that version 2 addresses this issue, I'll probably buy one and give my "old" one to my son. There are so many free books available on the Internet that I have yet to purchase a single book and I've been using it for a couple of hours a day for 6 months. The only advantage the Nook has over the Kindle is that it has a micro SD slot, that you'll probably never need if you use a book manager program like Calibre (it's free and amazing). I won't even attempt to address ignorant comments about how much the device costs to build.

valduboisvert
valduboisvert

Touch screen is a nice feature added to e-Ink. Now if one make some Android Apps to run on this it will be hard to not buy one.

winthrop.polk
winthrop.polk

Plastic piece of junk. Manufacturing cost, less than $5.00 gauranteed; keep that in mind when you buy it.

valduboisvert
valduboisvert

That is a good idea. I finally bought the nook and I am much happy than with my kindle. On the other hand if B&N keep adding good features in future releases I will buy the next versions as well. In that case I won't need to replace the battery. But in any case this would be good to know.

wrye
wrye

With schools going to e-readers, that is all they need to be. If the Nook or Kindle is good at reading and nothing else it will be best for schools.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler moderator

If you're referring to the four rows of small emitters and receivers on the back of the main PCB, these are used as part of the Neonode zForce touchscreen system. http://www.techrepublic.com/photos/cracking-open-the-2011-barnes-noble-nook-e-book-reader-wi-fi/6243892?seq=33 Traditional resistive and capacity touchscreen solutions use an overlay (either plastic or glass) above the actual display screen. From what I've read, Neonode's system uses a series of emitters and receivers (likely IR) to create a grid above the display screen. As you move your finger, or any object, through the grid, the zForce system detects the object's location and movement. Here's a link to Neonode's site: http://www.neonode.com/products/

j.ringham
j.ringham

Turning the Nook off is a good thought. The documentation seems to discourage doing that, but I am also finding the shorter battery life, even with the WiFi turned off most of the time. I turn it on to download books, then turn it off again. I will try the turning it off option as well, Thanks.

d.j.elliott
d.j.elliott

The Nook supports more file formats than the Kindle. Kindle doesn't even play fair with PDFs!

d.j.elliott
d.j.elliott

The color Nook does do Android apps...I think you have to buy B&N versions, but I am not sure. SOLITAIRE FINALLY!!

brad
brad

I have the 1st gen Nook e-ink and took the 2nd gen. for a test drive yesterday. I must admit that I'm impressed with the 2nd gen. The touch screen is very responsive and accurate. The case is easy to hold (not slippery) and the e-ink looks great in full daylight. My main concern was the screen size. The 1st and 2nd gen screens are the same size (I didn't grab a micrometer) as each other! I was happy to see that. However, the 2nd gen doesn't have a web browser, so checking GMail and Facebook aren't an option on this one. For the price, as of today, I would suggest buying the 1st gen if you can get ahold of one.

Elteto
Elteto

Same thought here. Since you can get Kindle, Borders, Sony Reader, and Nook apps for Android now, you could just have ONE e-Ink device that can display titles from all those distributors. That would also eliminate the need to buy four different e-reader devices.

Elteto
Elteto

Of course it costs less to manufacture it than what it is sold for. I see price breakdowns of cost of parts for gadgets all the time online, most of them do not take into account cost of labor and other company expenses, or a 'small and insignificant' variable called PROFIT. B&N is not a charity, it is a business. How many companies really have an electronics product that is given away or sold at the price of the parts by the thousands of tens of thousands, or even by the millions? Does manufacturing a mobile phone cost $700? What about Apple products, do they sell for the price of the sum of its components? As far as using plastic goes, sure, it is cheaper but also lighter. Also, there is that sneaky variable called "planned obsolescence". Most companies probably do it. The fact that most electronics do not have lifetime warranties also attest to that. If you only bought one phone, one audio player, one e-book reader, or one tablet that lasted forever, you would have no incentive to buy new products from that company. It is all about business, business, business...

andawna
andawna

Do you know what those IR emitters and receivers are as parts, who makes them, and where I can get them? I would love to know.

elangomatt
elangomatt

I am not quite sure what you mean by "play fair" but I can read PDFs just fine on my Kindle 2.

Elteto
Elteto

True, some of the features that have been eliminated may have been useful to some, but I think B&N made a feasible trade-off. Most users probably do not utilize the Nook as an audio player, and web browsing is not the most fluid experience on the Nook. For that purpose, a color touchscreen Android tablet is better suited. That does not decrease the new Nook's value at all in my opinion. It is a dedicated reading device that is easy to read in sunlight and the battery lasts for a good while. I guess I would miss the mobile data connection, but that was probably also a cost and battery life trade-off. Not the end of the world. Considering how thin and light the latest Kindle is, B&N is now trying to compete with that.

n6xhh
n6xhh

I don't know about products other than Nook, but the 1st edition and Color Nooks can both be softrooted into Android devices, since that is the underlying OS anyway, it just runs a proprietary app. Doing so will void your warranty, I will probably get a Color Nook to softroot. It costs less than any other android device of similar capabilities. It won't be long until the new version is rooted as well.

Babasyzygy
Babasyzygy

This is a little silly as complaints go, and fundamentally misunderstands the tech product market. Even if these readers were made of glorious brushed brass with sapphire crystal glass lenses, they'd still be obsolete in a couple of years; that's just Moore's Law, as faster cheaper processors need newer support electronics to support faster data throughputs, and so on. If you want a super fancy, durable exterior - buy a case.

eearle52
eearle52

And indeed companies would have little, if any, incentive to develop new products ! !

elangomatt
elangomatt

I have never compared the PDF reading between kindle and nook before at all. The only PDFs I have read on kindle are books, and though the text was a bit small, I could read it just fine without attempting to zoom at all. I initially thought you were saying that Kindle couldn't read PDFs at all.

valduboisvert
valduboisvert

Actually this is the second reason for why I returned my kindle. You can zoom a PDF document but this is not enough. Some PDF are terrible to read only using zoom. You need to be able to change fonts and to adjust the text flow for the rendering device. Kindle does NOT do that. Nook on the other hand renders PDF the way it should. 1 - 0 for Nook here.

gabriel.matej
gabriel.matej

Dear debater, you are forgetting for the main factor of the market and this is competitivity. Your mechanizm assumes that all producers have agreement to exhaust what is possible ( following obsolescence approach) and only then to release something new. And this is more less theory, because there are still more greedy and quicker fishes than carps in the lake.

Zorched
Zorched

Planned obsolescence is a product of the late 80's/90's. Before that most companies had to do that horrible thing called "innovation" to get people to buy their products. Now, they only have to make sure their junk breaks on a planned schedule to be able to guarantee continued profits. The sheeple just line up and buy new every time it breaks. It rather sounds like Planned obsolescence is more of a method to STIFLE innovation, rather than promote it, because they don't have to innovate when they're guaranteed to make continued profits on what they're making now..