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The Tech-pert: Get a Barnes and Noble Nook Color for Less than $200

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 1:59PM Tuesday July 19, 2011
under Spotlight Deals

In recent weeks I've talked a lot about the Amazon Kindle, but let's not overlook that "other" e-reader: the Barnes & Noble Nook. Specifically, the Nook Color is one of the unexpected gadget success stories of 2011--and for a limited time, there's a rare deal to be had on one.

Barnes & Noble is offering the "certified pre-owned" Nook Color tablet for $199, shipping included. Normally it sells for $249.
"Certified pre-owned" is another term for "refurbished," but don't let that stop you. B&N's refurbs arrive in like-new condition (I've seen them firsthand), and they're covered by a full one-year warranty, same as new Nooks. To my thinking, you have absolutely nothing to lost by going the pre-owned route. Rather, you have $50 to gain.

Notice, too, that I called this a tablet, not an e-reader. Although it began life as the latter, it has more recently evolved into the former: the Nook Color runs a modified version of the Android operating system, and can now run a limited selection of apps--just like a real tablet.

In fact, if you're a tech-savvy user, you can install the full-blown Android OS and turn this into one of the best deals anywhere on a color tablet. Not tech-savvy? A cool new product called Nook2Android makes this a plug-and-play process: just pop a memory card into the Nook's expansion slot and presto: you've got an Android tablet. Pop it out again and your Nook Color is restored.

Besides offering color to the Kindle's monochrome, the Nook Color supports the Epub book format--meaning you can check out free e-books from your local library. Amazon plans to add that option to Kindles sometime this summer--but exactly when is anybody's guess.

The Nook Color also excels at displaying magazines and children's books--something to consider if you're a fan of periodicals or, well, children.

Personally, my Kindle's been collecting dust ever since my Nook Color arrived. Although Amazon is expected to offer a color e-reader/tablet any day now, a Nook Color for $199 out the door is just about impossible to beat--whatever the competition brings.

Consequently, I suspect B&N will sell out quickly. If you've been waiting for a price drop to pull the trigger on a Nook Color, don't wait any longer!

Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently, "How to Do Everything: Palm Pre." Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.