Is a Barnes & Noble e-reader nearing production?

The e-reader would take on similar offerings from Amazon and Sony.

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    Gizmodo says this is a photograph of the new Barnes & Noble e-reader.
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Earlier this month, we reported that Barnes & Noble was prepping an e-reader, which will presumably go head to head with the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader. As we noted, the rumors have the Barnes & Noble entry utilizing Google’s Android OS, and hitting sometime before the end of the year, just in time to snag the attention of holiday audiences.

Of course Barnes & Noble was mum on the whole affair. “We have made no announcement about an electronic reader…We believe readers should have access to books in their digital library from any device, anywhere and anytime,” a spokesman told Reuters. Still, details continue to leak out at a rapid clip. The latest gossip concerns some photos published by the folks over at Gizmodo.

Quoting a "source from within" Barnes & Noble, Gizmodo said the gadget was close to hitting store shelves (the italics belong to the Gizmodo writer):

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The Barnes & Noble e-reader project, set to be revealed next week, has been under development for years, with several devices of varying size and capability in the pipeline. First rumors said it would have a color e-ink screen. Then people said it didn't. They were both kind of right: The layout will feature a black and white e-ink screen like the Kindle has—and a multitouch display like an iPhone underneath....

In the photos, the Barnes & Noble e-reader – name unknown – appears to be exceptionally sleek, with sets of buttons for search, home, and turning the page. (See above.)

There also appears to be a switch where users can reach the Barnes & Noble homepage. Remember, back in July, Barnes & Noble announced it would create an electronic bookstore to sell more than 700,000 titles. By the end of 2009, Barnes & Noble hopes to offer more than 1 million e-books. This e-reader will likely be a key part of the company's digital initiative.–

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