, , , , ,


A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Nook Color, and found it good, but unfinished. While it has its share of problems, almost every one of them could be fixed with software adjustments and firmware updates. Here’s my wish list for the big update rumored to be scheduled for January.

Smooth edges

The biggest problem with the Nook Color is that its interface needs some smoothing. It sometimes takes an extra tap to wake the screen up, and navigating—especially in magazines—can be laggy and frustrating.

This isn’t the first time B&N has rushed a Nook to market: when the original Nook came out last year (just in time for the holidays), most reviews agreed that its interface was similarly laggy, and in later months B&N improved it markedly. Hopefully that happens again here.

Fix note-taking

Right now, you have to pin each note you take to a patch of text, and the firmware doesn’t distinguish between notes and regular highlights. If it did distinguish, and gave you more note-taking options (like, for instance, taking notes in magazines), it would make this a much more desirable device for students.

I’d also like to see more integration with a word processor—perhaps in the next hardware generation this could even happen through Bluetooth.

Apps – Instapaper, Goodreads, Evernote, Etc.

I desperately want Instapaper on this puppy, especially an Instapaper app that auto-downloads everything you’ve sent to your account, so you could read everything offline, like the way the Nook already does newspapers.

I’d also love to see an Overdrive app for managing library books and library audiobooks, a Goodreads and/or Copia app for social reading, a Google Editions app, and Evernote for proper note-taking. All of these (except probably the Overdrive app) are well within the range of possibility. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Wattpad, Smashwords, Scribd, the list goes on.

Document creation

There’s a cover in the Nook store boasting about an easel design that “creates a solid base for typing on your NOOKcolor’s keyboard.” Sounds awesome, but what the hell are you typing? As of yet, there isn’t even a note app. I’d love to be able to write in a proper word processor, even if it was bares bones. Even a simple Notes feature would be enough.

More content

So far, about 20 newspapers are available, and less than 100 magazines. I’d like to see a lot more, please. I especially want to see smaller niche magazines represented—right now, the magazines are mostly general interest titles with large circulations, like GQ and Glamour—I’d like to see smaller magazines and lit mags be able to publish in the B&N store. I’d also like to see…

Comic books

I’m not a comic book guy, but I would buy one entire buttload of comics on this thing. When this happens, and it will, check out Chamber Four’s comics correspondent Aaron Block to find some good books to read.

Mixed content

The official Nook Color commercial features, at one point, a woman reading a cookbook with a video embedded in it, showing her how to whisk. I would like that cookbook, please. I’ve tried looking for it in the Nook store, but I can’t find it, if it even exists. B&N needs to frontload the kind of content that really shows off this device.

Of course, I don’t want books to become series of small movies, but I do want to see that kind of thing from magazines and newspapers.

More support for content interacting

Specifically, there should be an option next to “Look up in Google” and “Look up in Wikipedia” for “Look up in B&N store.” That way, if you’re reading a book review, you can easily find the book. You should also be able to do this with music and even movies. There are millions of other ways different kinds of content could interact, but I think this one makes sense as the ground-breaker, because it carries the most financial incentive to get the ball rolling.

A way to share whole articles

I want to be able to save articles from newspapers to read later, or be able to send article recommendations to friends. If you share something on Facebook, the link leads to the book or newspaper in the Nook store, which is pretty self-serving and not very customer-serving.

To put this another way: one of my favorite sections in the New York Times is “Most E-mailed.” If you skip a few days of the paper, that section comes in every edition, so you can always find the most interesting articles you missed. But: if everybody had a Nook Color, that section would disappear, because there’s no way to email an entire article to a friend.

That’s about it. A modest list for a first update. I’ll check back in after the update comes out to see how it stacks up.