I loved the original touchscreen Nook, which launched at an aggressive price point and the latest screen technology. Of course, Amazon quickly fired back with a touch Kindle of its own. Now Barnes & Noble is slashing the price, and pushing a software update that makes the screen — of all things — noticeably better. The text rendering was one of my biggest gripes with the Nook, and it's gotten a little better. Words seem spaced just a little nicer, all the blacks on the device are blacker, and letters look just a little sharper. Unfortunately, there are still some jaggies, and I think Kindle's still the winner here.
The other thing Barnes & Noble tweaked is the page refresh time. It was already really great with the original software, but now it's even faster, especially at getting rid of the "garbage" text that temporarily overlays the new page when you turn. It's certainly the best I've seen from E Ink, which is finally arriving at a place where page turns aren't a road block anymore. What we're really in need of is higher resolution displays to cut down on those jaggies (E Ink has promised me they're coming), and perhaps a bit better font handling (and fonts) than Linux and Android were strictly built to provide.