Barnes and Noble just unveiled their new ereader, the Nook second generation. It’s a cheaper e-ink only model (6″ screen) that aims to take on the cheapest Kindle, both priced at $139. Compared to the Kindle it’s smaller due to the lack of a physical keyboard, and input is instead handled by an infrared detection system which works the same way a touchscreen does. Battery life is rated at 2 months, which is highly random considering e-ink displays use power only when they refresh, so the battery could last a few days if you refresh it enough. A new proprietary technology is also supposed to eliminate the white-on-black flashed that normally occurs when you refresh an e-ink display.
There is also a new social feature called NOOK Friends, built-in book lending (both between friends and from libraries) and an upcoming online access system. Looks like a nice alternative to the Kindle, but US only availability is going to limit its potential quite a bit. You can pre-order it now for shipping on June 10.