Barnes & Noble Inc. is stepping up their e-reader offering, upping the NOOK Color experience to rival those of tablet computers like the iPad and Motorola Xoom.

The NOOK Color, priced at $249, now has expanded Web capabilities, built-in email and new additions to Shop on NOOK Color. Currently, there is a growing collection of 125 NOOK apps available from third party vendors. Brands that already have signed on to the NOOK platform include Epicurious and Lonely Planet.

Along with the app capability comes over 150 magazine and newspaper titles available through the NOOK Newsstand, including The Economist, National Geographic Kids, ESPN The Magazine, Outside and Food & Wine, among others.
According to a news statement, “All (titles) can be enjoyed with a 14-day trial, via subscription or purchased in single issue form.”

NOOK users can download v1.2 manually from here if they want the newest version immediately, but automatic downloads will be provided over the coming days.

The NOOK will now run on the Android OS 2.2/Froyo platform; with this updated platform comes support for Adobe Flash.

Currently, the NOOK offers over two million digital titles.

According to a statement released on January 24, the NOOK Newsstand had sold over 650,000 subscriptions and single copies in the first two months of the NOOK Color’s release.

The original NOOK was announced in October 2009, and began shipping in November of that year.