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There have been a bunch of images and rumors floating around over the weekend about the soon-to-be released Barnes & Noble ereader device, and they’re some pretty slick images and rumors.

If all is to be believed, the machine–maybe named the Athena–is designed by former Apple designers (who also worked on the original Kindle?) and will feature two screens on a single plane. The main screen is black and white, utilizing E-Ink, and the second, smaller, navigation/data entry screen features full color multitouch LCD.

Pretty awesome and innovative. Such a combination could possibly obviate a lot of the discussions on the disparities between the various  ereaders’ screens in the current generation.  The machine supposedly runs on Google’s Android OS, meaning it could stand well above the rest in the firmware department as well.

Barnes & Noble has been selling ebooks at competitive prices in eReader format for some months now. They are clearly aiming to take a big bite out of the Kindle’s (not entirely deserved) pie. No word yet on whether they will take a similar propritary format approach as their competetion, but it would definitely be interesting if the device remians open to other formats (particulary if it can handle library books).

There will be a press conference on Tuesday–most likely a full, official reveal with specs. We’ll know more then. Check back later in the week for the skinny.

via BrighthandDVICE, BusinessWeek, Gizmodo