Amazon’s Kindle Fire isn’t the only device gearing up for a major software update. Barnes & Noble announced plans on Monday to roll out a series of performance improvements and entertainment features for its Nook Color ereader, including a variety of apps such as Netflix and Flixter.

The Nook Color’s 1.4 software update — which now resembles the operating system powering the Nook Tablet — gives readers far more options on how to interact with the device.

The company’s “biggest ever update” for its year-old Nook Color includes access to Netflix’s streaming service, allowing users to access popular movies and TV shows directly on the device. The update also features NookComics – which adds a large collection of full-color comics and Marvel graphic novels – and PagePerfect Nook Books with ebooks focused on images, such as cooking and art books.

The update also made various improvements to usability. The Nook Color now offers the flexibility to read books in portrait or landscape mode, adjust the text with additional font sizes and directly look up words in its internal dictionary. Viewing PDFs is also more interactive, as users can pinch and zoom in on images.

Although the company hasn’t unveiled a service that allows Nook Color users the ability to download or rent movies through the device, Barnes & Noble noted that more video services are in the works. Apps for popular music services such as Pandora and Grooveshark are also available for download.

SEE ALSO: Nook Tablet Gives Kindle Fire a Run for Its Money [REVIEW]

Nook Color users can download the update now via its site or can do so through Wi-Fi when the company rolls out the option later this week.

Barnes & Noble is giving shoppers the opportunity to receive a free $25 gift certificate to the store when a Nook Color, Nook Simple Touch or Nook Tablet is purchased with a MasterCard. The offer is only valid for today, Monday Dec. 12.

Will the updates give the Nook Color a new advantage over the competition or is it still playing catch up?

More About: amazon, ereader, Gadget, nook color, Tablet, Tech

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Touchscreen keypads seem to be progressively taking over the old-fashioned keys on our devices such as phones, tablets and ebooks. But the touchscreen keypad has now made its way to the computer — with the “keyboard of the future.”

The Keyboard “ABC,” created by designer Iaroslav Neliubov, features a touchscreen surface that can be configured to any language with customized keys. It has a built-in CD/DVD drive, SD memory card reader and USB port to make storing files easier. The keyboard’s most appealing feature is its ability to change color with just the touch of a finger.

The keyboard also has built-in sound dynamics and is supposed to work well with left-handers. Take a look at the gallery below to see the sleek, black polished device. Could this be the keyboard of the future?

Built-in CD/DVD Drive, SD Card Reader and USB Port

Click here to view this gallery.

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This week, I had a chance to review the Nomad Brush, a beautiful, handcrafted stylus designed for painting and sketching on the iPad.

The stylus feels and looks like an actual paintbrush, complete with a 5.5-inch wooden handle and a mix of natural and synthetic fibers selected for their conductive properties. When I first came across this demo video of the stylus last week, I was skeptical that the iPad‘s touchscreen surface would be able to pick up the stylus’s soft bristles, but I’m happy to report that the iPad easily responds to the touch. It allows for free-flowing brush strokes much like a real paintbrush, and an elegance of line I was previously unable to achieve using my fingers or a regular stylus.

Since we’ve only used the brush for a day, we can neither guarantee that it will work a year or even a month from now with heavy use, nor whether the bristles will hold their shape. (As a side note, we’re still looking for a way to keep those bristles intact while traveling; I plan to use my standard canvas brush holder in the meantime.) Given how much we plan to use the thing, we should have a pretty good idea of how it holds up by the time the brush goes on sale in early February.

The Nomad Brush was conceived by Don Lee, a 39-year-old architect based in New York. After 14 years as an architect, Lee decided to take a year-long break from his profession “to rejuvenate [his] creative side,” he explains.

As part of the rejuvenation process, Lee took up sketching on the iPad. “The finger is by far the most efficient way to navigate the iPad, but when it came to sketching, I just couldn’t get used to it,” Lee says. “As a problem solver by nature, I started to tinker and found a solution, and that’s how the Nomad Brush came about.”

At launch, only a black version with a 5.5-inch handle will be available for purchase, followed by a version with a white handle. In the future, Lee plans to create additional versions with varying brush head sizes and handle lengths. Pricing has not yet been disclosed, though given that each stylus is hand made, we expect it will be a bit pricier than the typical stylus.

In the meantime, check out our hands-on video below.


Video



More Gadget Demos from Mashable:


HANDS ON: 10 New Tablets Ready to Challenge the iPad [VIDEOS]
Hands On With Vizio’s Android-Powered Devices [VIDEO]
DEMO: BlackBerry Playbook Tablet [VIDEO]
Hands On With Vizio’s Android-Powered Devices [VIDEO]
Nintendo 3DS: Hands-On and First Impressions [PICS]

More About: apple, demo, Gadget, hands-on, ipad, ipad stylus, nomad brush