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3 million Nook Color readers shipped

Barnes & Noble

The Nook Color, from Barnes & Noble.

It's no iPad, but Barnes & Noble's Nook Color e-reader, less flashy than many of the tablets unveiled recently, is becoming more tablet-like and seems to be selling respectably well.

Sales of the $249 device, which has a 7-inch screen, "topped 1 million units" in North America in the last quarter of 2010, and reached 600,000 to 700,000 units a month in January and February, sources have told DigiTimes, a Taiwanese tech business publication:

Barnes & Noble has taken delivery of close to three million Nook Color e-book readers from its production partner, according to an estimate by sources from the Nook Color supply chain.

With a clear differentiation to Apple's iPads in display size, targeted market and pricing, the Nook Color, priced at US $249, has actually taken up over 50 percent of the iPad-like market in the North America market, indicated the sources.

The Nook Color was released late last year. Apple's iPad, which starts at $499 and went on the market last April, sold more than 15 million in its first nine months, including 7.3 million iPads to holiday buyers in the last quarter of 2010.

While Amazon's Kindle is the pre-eminent e-reader, it remains a black-and-white one (as is Border's Kobo and Sony's line of Readers), and color is a distinct advantage for the Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble recently said that the Nook Color "will get even better this spring when a major update to the device's firmware will offer customers access to explore exciting new applications, e-mail and many other requested features," making it more tablet-like for users.

So, while buyers wait for new iPad 2 to be available, it appears the Nook Color is finding a nook among consumers.

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