We've known for a while that Barnes & Noble intended a second model of its successful Nook Color tablet for later this year, as the original passed its first birthday this week. The Amazon Kindle Fire may have hastened the bookseller's plans: multiple sources claiming to be Barnes & Noble employees are reporting that kiosks and other retail goodies are showing up in bookstores ahead of a November 7th launch. That would put the Nook Color 2 on retail shelves a week before Kindle Fires begin shipping out from Amazon.
An anonymous B&N employee tells The Digital Reader that his or her store is building a huge new display in the center of the store especially for the Nook tablets and e-readers. Spotlight, LCD TVs, touch screen demonstration kiosks, the works. A manager told him or her to expect a major Nook announcement on the 7th to battle the Kindle Fire. That's a pretty unmistakable indication that we'll be seeing more Nook news soon.
The biggest draw for the Kindle Fire is its rock-bottom price of $199, undercutting other Android tablets by hundreds of dollars and the current Nook Color by $50. That probably means that the Nook Color 2 will see a discount of at least that much, whenever it comes to market. The Nook Color currently runs a heavily modified and branded version of Froyo, and the Fire runs a likewise customized version of Gingerbread. The rivalvry between the two biggest player in the e-reader market is about to seriously heat up, and consumers will be on the winning side whatever happens.