Barnes & Noble launches Wi-Fi-only Nook, lowers price on 3G model

Book retail giant Barnes & Noble has launched a new version of its Nook e-book reader, lowered prices on existing models, and announced a software update that introduces new book reading features as well as free access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots.

In contrast to existing models, the new Nook Wi-Fi has no 3G connectivity, relying instead, as its name implies, on Wi-Fi networks to access the Internet and download content. The reduced connectivity has enabled the company to sell the new device for $149—$50 less than its more capable counterpart, which now sell for $199, down from $259.

In addition, Barnes & Noble has released an update to the firmware for all Nook models. The new version of the software, 1.4, introduces a number of new features, including a go-to-page capability, a new extra-large font, and several performance enhancements. Most notably, however, the software update allows Nook users (3G-enabled and otherwise) to access the Internet through any of AT&T’s public Wi-Fi hotspots, free of charge.

Nook 1.4 is currently available for download from the Nook support page. Nook users who connect their devices to a Wi-Fi hotspots will receive the update automatically, according to Barnes & Noble.

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