The Nook gains a web browser

The Barnes & Noble nook has had a web browser added to it in the 1.3 update (along with sudoku and chess and a bunch of other things).

And the web browser actually works pretty freaking well. The nook’s design of a small touch screen along with an e-ink display means that you get a full-color small view into the website on the bottom and a very nice black-and-white view on the top. You can scroll through the website using both the touch screen and the page back/forward keys, meaning that all-in-all, it works very well for simple surfing.

I’m assuming that the browser is based on the Android browser and therefore Chrome and therefore Webkit, which means that - much like the old iPhone ad - this isn’t a “mobile” browser, this is a full-fledged “real” browser. You don’t get some crappy version of the web, you get the real thing.

Right now it’s restricted to only work over Wi-Fi (I’m assuming Barnes & Noble wants to limit what they have to pay AT&T for 3G access). It is a beta, which excuses some of the weirdness. (Such as it failing to activate Wi-Fi on the first page, meaning you have to either manually activate Wi-Fi using the new Wi-Fi button on the home view or by accessing the page a second time.)

It doesn’t support video (gee) but it also doesn’t support HTML 5 <audio> which is too bad. I’m assuming there’s no Flash support, for basically the same reason there’s no video support.

I’ve updated my website to work with the nook browser - and, in fact, it should now work with any browser that supports CSS3 and needs to display in a small screen space. (Assuming that your browser does, narrow the window to watch the side bars move down below the content when you hit a certain width.) I may tweak this later, but for now, it works well enough.