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Barnes & Noble's new Nook goes back to basics

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Barnes & Noble just announced its all-new Nook, with an E Ink screen and zero shenanigans. It's being subtitled "The Simple Touch Reader," with a single 6-inch black and white touchscreen. There's obviously no physical keyboard, which shaves off 10 percent of the "bulk" in comparison to the Kindle 3. Barnes & Noble also made sure to drive other points of comparison home, like "80 percent less flashing" (that black screen flash that you get during E Ink page turns) and double the battery life (two months). The touchscreen works with IR technology, which should hopefully mitigate some of the problems with E Ink touchscreens and decreased readability -- in fact, B&N promises a 50 percent improvement over the original Nook. For storage there's 2GB built-in and a microSDHC slot for swapping in your copy of Proust, with a WiFi connection for snagging new titles (but no 3G). Under the hood there's a 800MHz TI OMAP3 processor, running Android 2.1. -- or your custom mod of choice once the hackers get ahold of this.

B&N also is promising some new ways to discover and share books, with "Nook Friends" sharing over Facebook, Twitter, and email using LendMe and ePub. The portal will somehow augment this process.

The new Nook will retail for $139 and starts shipping on June 10th. Meanwhile the original Nook will drop to $119 for WiFi and $169 for 3G and be retired once supplies run out... the end of a dual-screen era!

Check out our hands-on with the new Nook!