Barnes & Noble planning new e-reader

Not content with its current Nook lineup, Barnes & Noble said it is working on a new device.

During a presentation to investors yesterday, the retailer said it will make an announcement on May 24 “regarding the launch of a new eReader device.”

The news comes after Barnes & Noble recently upgraded its Nook Color to run a full, unrestricted version of Android 2.2, allowing users to run all their favorite Android apps, as well as online Flash content, without needing to buy a separate tablet device.

Previously, the Nook Color was powered by a special restricted version of Google’s mobile OS, but hackers managed to make it run full Android software, so B&N decided to officially offer that update.

According to the Wall Street Journal, company executives declined to offer any details about the new device, leaving all the surprise for the May 24 announcement.

The Nook is regarded as the #2 player in the e-reader market, behind Amazon’s market-leading Kindle. However, the Kindle has a low-budget processor and a black-and-white e-ink screen, which makes it ideal for reading books in any lighting condition without straining the eyes, but highly restricts the device from doing anything else – a detriment in the current generation of multitasking gadgets.

Whether Barnes & Noble’s new reader will contain the “Nook” brand is even in doubt, since the company specifically avoided using that word to tease the device. Regardless, all questions should hopefully be answered later this month.