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Description: Specs to compare Nook and Kindle – a review for 2011.

If you’re shopping for an ebook reader, it’s impossible not to compare Nook and Kindle devices. Reviews rank the Nook and Amazon Kindle far above other e-readers like the Sony Reader, and they generally offer more usability for the price. But to decide the question of Nook vs Kindle 2011, one must account for Amazon’s new line of Kindles to be released this November.

If you want the classic e-reader that looks and feels like a hands-on print book, you can still get one. Both Nook and Kindle have the famous E-ink displays designed specifically for reading books and magazines. The standard versions of both are black and white like a printed page. Unlike the screens of tablet computers or notebooks, the high-contrast, no-glare E-ink displays can be read in full sunlight, and there is no harmful backlighting to damage your eyes.

Nook and Kindle are roughly the same size and are highly portable. While newer Kindles hold several times more ebooks than Nook, don’t worry. Either reader has enough space to hold every book you have ever read or could ever want to read. You can carry your entire reading library in your coat pocket.

The Nook Touch is $139, touchscreen and Wi-fi enabled so you can grab your favorite ebook and start reading. Barnes & Noble boasts that the Nook lets you change the fonts and font sizes in your reading material with a touch, and it offers a selection of millions of books to download.

The standard Kindle is now offered for $79 on Amazon.com (special offer). It’s tiny, offers the classic pocket-sized E-ink display, and is Wi-fi ready. It’s just what you want from an ebook reader—nothing extra. It’s the most affordable e-reader available, but is not touchscreen. Amazon’s touchscreen devices are one price step up at $99, or $149 for the Kindle Touch 3G.

It is difficult to make a comparison between the 2011 Nook and the current Kindle because Amazon will release brand new Kindle devices this November. Its new product line of 6 updated Kindles includes the $199 Kindle Fire, a full-color, touchscreen device with high-speed internet designed for streaming video, browsing the web, social networking, and downloading music and apps.

Reaching far beyond its original purpose as an e-reader, the Kindle Fire is clearly offered as competition for the iPad, just in time to pre-order for the holidays. Its release this fall sparked rumors that it could be the “iPad Killer,” especially backed by Amazon’s far-reaching advertising. In terms of hardware and programming, the Kindle runs on a less powerful Android tablet platform that lacks some of the iPad’s capabilities. But Kindle offers a simpler interface for users who are less familiar with tablet technology. It may be just the thing for buyers who don’t need a device with so much horsepower.

The Nook Color remains Kindle Fire’s closest relative. The first Nook Color was released for the holiday season last year, and the updated Nook Color 2 is expected to beat the Kindle Fire’s release by a month or two.

To compare Nook and Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s NookColor does the same thing. It surfs the internet, plays movies, checks email and social networks, and even reads books—and you can have one now, instead of waiting for Christmas. Granted, the price tag is a little more daunting, at $249. Besides that, NookColor only lacks Amazon’s fiery advertising for its 2011 iPad challenger; the Kindle Fire display looks amazing.

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