Barnes & Noble released a significant update for its NookColor e-reader. With it, Apple may finally have a worthy tablet competitor at an amazing price point.

With its Version 1.2 update, the $249 NookColor includes Android OS 2.2/Froyo, which offers full Adobe Flash Player Support. The device comes with its own Nook Apps store, which includes many of the most popular apps already available for iDevice owners. These include Angry Birds, Pulse News, and Epicurious Recipes.

At its price point, the NookColor offers customers, for the first time, an economical alternative to the higher-priced iPad. The fact that it includes, on day one, apps from developers already using iOS shouldn’t be discounted. It shows that the market may be ready for a cheaper tablet.

Nook Color - Pulse News Reader

Nook Color - Pulse News Reader

Other features include:

  • Full-featured free email to check and send web-based email (i.e., Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL) all from one in-box
  • NOOK Kids™ exciting new Read and Play titles that bring animation, activities and stories together
  • NOOK Books Enhanced offer in-page video and audio in a growing number of titles
  • Enhancements to magazine navigation making it easier to enjoy even more of the growing selection of magazines in NOOK Newsstand
  • NOOK Friends™ (beta) to see your friends’ reading activities, swap books with LendMe™, share recommendations and discover new titles

The NookColor, which debuted in 2010, includes a 7-inch VividView Color Touchscreen, with a high-resolution display at 1024 x 600. Its memory is 8GB, but may be expanded up to 32GB using a microSD memory card.

It will be interesting to see how the public responds to the NookColor update. Although the device has typically been compared to Amazon’s line of Kindle devices, this update definitely pulls it closer to what Apple offers with its iPad.

Although it certainly doesn’t offer as many features as Apple’s tablet, the NookColor could appeal to those customers that want a tablet, but cannot afford one higher priced.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.