Sitting on buses and trains with nothing to do may well be a thing of the past, as Belkin joins forces with Barnes & Noble for something particularly interesting, a backpack with an e-book reader built into the front of a backpack.
This creative little endeavour is called the “Nook Book Bag”, which itself is a name taken from the Barnes & Noble e-reader called the “Nook” that Australia has yet to receive, likely because the Barnes & Noble bookstore franchise (similar to what was Borders Books & Music before it departed) has never landed on our shores.
Despite this, Belkin could end up pushing this out to Australia, especially since we tend to see many of its products made available here shortly after release in America.
As for the backpack itself, it appears to be the Belkin Essential Backpack with a few twists, notably the Nook GlowLight built into the front of the backpack which itself has apparently undergone a degree of extra ruggedisation, with an enforced scratch-resistant touchscreen and an element of water protection.
We’re told this is essentially IP57 certified, meaning it could survive an encounter with rain, but we’d get to a bus or building for shelter after a good 30 minutes of singing in the aforementioned rain.
For the most part, the Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight appears to be the same, with the specs reading pretty much spot on to the original, including the 6 inch 758×1024 electronic ink screen, WiFi, support for the ePub standard, and a battery capable of providing up to eight weeks of life before needing a recharge.
Inside the backpack, we’re told there’s a small compartment in that front pouch for the battery charge mechanism and microSD card slot, making it possible to charge up the e-reader quite easily and bring in your own books, with the wireless networking in the Nook making it possible to synchronise your book reading experience across devices, and even buy books from your backpack.
We’re not surprised to see this sort of convergence pop up, especially since it’s a similar concept to what bag maker Osprey showed us last year with the CyberPort, which was a backpack with a tablet window. However, the collaboration between Belkin and Barnes & Noble for the Nook Book Bag kind of takes this idea a little further.
That said, Belkin has yet to comment on if it would be bringing the Nook Book Bag locally, but if it does, it’ll be the first time a Barnes & Noble e-reader has crossed the Pacific and sold on our humble shores.
UPDATE (5.30pm): And in case you were wondering what was up with this product, it was our April Fools Day story for 2015. For what it’s worth, some of the tech people we spoke to actually thought it was neat enough to work. We wonder what Belkin thinks…