October 14, 2009, 8:03 AM — Last week I reported on some confusing rumors of a color e-reader coming from Barnes & Noble next spring. I thought the claims were unlikely, at least in terms of a color e-ink reader. Now Plastic Logic, the company reported to be manufacturing the device, has spoken to PC Pro, denying the color claims: "The video report is inaccurate and the individual (who was apparently filmed while attending a trade show was not an authorized Barnes & Noble spokesperson) was misinformed."
With the color issue taken out of the picture, the rest of the rumors are shaping up nicely. In fact Barnes & Noble has announced an event to be held on Oct. 20th, which is the date Electronista identified as the launch day for a new B&N branded e-reader. They also say the device will use AT&T for wireless downloads and that it'll support limited lending of e-books to friends. This last point is huge, I think. One of the reasons my household has held off on taking the e-reader plunge is that we often read the same books. Call me cheap but I don't want to buy two copies of a particular title if both myself and my partner want to read it. Nor do we want to swap e-readers back and forth. Tying each of our e-readers to the same e-bookstore account feels clunky in terms of recommendations and so forth; we each have our personal preferences as well as our common interests.
[Update: Gizmodo has some leaked images of what they claim is the Barnes & Noble e-reader. It's an interesting design, having a small second LCD (color) panel below the larger gray-scale e-ink display.]
In other e-reader news, Engadget reports that the Endless Ideas BeBook 2 (with touchscreen and 3G connectivity) is going to launch today. The e-reader news isn't all good, though. Engadget also reports that the Amazon Kindle, International Edition, ships with a US power plugs from a US warehouse, so European users will have to purchase an adapter and pay import fees. That sounds so bone-headed that I have a hard time believing it, but I guess we'll see when the device starts shipping on Oct. 19th.