Update: sources from Barnes & Noble have stated (unofficially) that this was merely due to a brief supply shortage of Nook Colors. It looks like this was most likely a false alarm and they'll keep happily selling you Nook Colors.
With all the talk about using the Nook Color as an Android tablet (including the jaw-dropping port of Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' before it even launches), maybe you've wondered what Barnes & Noble thought of all this? Well, we may have just gotten an idea . . .
According to the folks over at Good E-Reader, B&N is pulling its entire stock of Nook Colors from the shelves for the next two weeks. Initial rumors were that this was to prepare for the promised Froyo update, but now sources within Barnes & Noble are apparently saying that this is to install some sort of anti-rooting measure. While the reasoning behind their pulling the Nooks is still unconfirmed at this point, it appears to be fact that all Nook Colors are being systematically removed from shelves and online orders for about two weeks.
Despite having solid hardware specs for an Android tablet, the main reason the Nook Color has been so popular is because it's priced at a modest $250. While this is great for us, the Android tablet junkies and hackers, from Barnes & Noble's business perspective, this could be seen as a big problem.
After a recent teardown of the Nook Color, it was estimated that the total cost of the parts of each NC add up to somewhere around $200. While a $50 profit is better than a loss, it probably isn't considered worthwhile for a massive book chain trying to compete with amazon.com and Borders. So they're obviously counting on the sale of digital content from within the Nook Color to make their real profits.
Of course the Nook Color is also capable of running ROMs off of SD cards as well, since it looks first to boot from there. If nand-locking rooting preventions are being taken, will they also disable the ability to boot from the SD card?
It seems unlikely to me that B&N would pull their stock of Nook Colors just to get a Froyo software update ready. That's two weeks of people deciding that they might rather have a Kindle or iPad than wait for their stock to be replenished, so a move like this isn't to be taken lightly.
We'll be keeping an eye on this one for sure, and we've contacted Barnes & Noble for comment. What has Barnes & Noble told you? Sound off in our Nook Color forums. [Good E-Reader via cnet]
Update: a reader sent us a tip that, according to "a B&N worker," a system receiving error is responsible for the halt. I highly doubt they'd intentionally pull their hottest item because of a receiving error, but if their stock was already low, this could be an explanation . . . We're still waiting on a response from Barnes & Noble.