Barnes & Noble introduces Nook Color e-reader at $249

Barnes & Noble has unveiled the latest version of its Nook e-reader gadget, with the newest model including several key improvements. The new Nook Color device includes a color LCD screen introduced with a $249 retail price tag.

The new device is expected to launch Nov. 19.

The Nook Color has a 7″ screen featuring a 1024 x 600 resolution, 16 million colors, and includes Wi-Fi support. Barnes & Noble didn’t include 3G support with the new edition of the e-reader, which some analysts wanted to see in the new model. Will a color screen be enough to attract new consumers?

Barnes & Noble introduces Nook Color e-reader at 9

The Nook Color e-reader was introduced about one year after the book store launched its first e-reader, the original Nook. I find it interesting that Barnes & Noble decided to make product modifications while keeping the price relatively high — as analysts were expecting improvements paired with even lower prices.

In June, the Nook 3G received a price cut down to $199, while the Wi-Fi model launched at $149.

As rivals look for ways to counter the industry leading Amazon Kindle, this new Nook e-reader seems more like a tablet than e-reader. The Wi-Fi model of the rival Kindle is available for $139 — and continues to be embraced by casual consumers — so I’m unsure if B&N will be able to succeed with such a pricey gadget.

B&N must now hope that its new higher cost e-reader will be able to battle Sony’s lower-priced models for the No. 2 spot in the growing e-reader market. The Kindle is expected to total 5 to 6 million Kindle units in 2010, with 2 million units expected for the Nook and Sony e-readers in 2010.