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A legit tablet computer at half the price of an iPad?

Barnes and Noble's new Nook Color.

The latest update for the Nook Color, issued yesterday, really bumps up the capability of what was once a handy gadget for reading books. We talk to CNET.com executive editor David Carnoy about what exactly happened and what the souped-up device will be capable of.

The Nook Color moved up to an Android 2.2 operating system. Now users have an email application so you can run any email function straight out of the Nook.

It also adds a much more adept browser than it had before with Flash capability. So you can go to YouTube.com and watch videos straight off the website. That's different than the iPad, which doesn't support Flash and requires a separate app for YouTube.

And the Nook Color can run apps. Angry Birds is already available.

But before you rush out to buy one, let's talk about areas where Nook Color might fall short of what you want from a tablet computer. All apps must be adapted to Nook Color and approved by Barnes & Noble. We talk to app developer Craig Hockenberry of The Icon Factory, who says the adaptations don't seem all that demanding and he's definitely thinking about making apps for the device, though he won't commit just yet.

That's important, because if app developers are excited to build for this thing, app selection will be a big plus for users. If not and if the cupboard is bare, the app store could be a bummer.

It's also vital to note that the Nook Color's processing power is still much lower than the iPad's and that those cool Flash websites will probably be a big power suck on the battery.

Also in this program, a new study says Mac users are more educated than PC users. Mac fans are more likely to be urban-dwelling vegetarian Jon Stewart fans. PC folks are more likely to live in the suburbs, ride Harleys and eat McDonald's fries.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.
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The Nook being an Android device can also be rooted and run the full version of the 2.2. Some flavor of Androind 3.0 can also be found. You might to check out XDA Developer.

Not even close to the iPad, you pay less because you get less. This product is more like an iPod Touch but with a weak OS, limited software and few services.

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