Barnes & Noble fired back at the Kindle today with a simple, 6″ touchscreen Nook that has a 2 month battery life and sits at 10% smaller than the Kindle 3. The new ereader also features an E-ink Pearlr display, a soft contoured back and a WiFi connection. This is designed to be a stripped down reader that will compete directly with Amazon’s offerings and sit below the current Nook and the Nook Color in B&N’s lineup.

The new Nook is WiFi-only and features an on-screen keyboard. This allows it to be significantly smaller than the comparable Kindle. The touch screen is powered by IR technology and B&N promises a 50% better screen quality. One of the main features is 80% less ‘flashing’ when pages are changed. Its tagline is “The Simple Touch Reader.”

The new ereader runs on Android 2.1 and is powered by an 800Mhz TI OMAP3 processor.

Barnes & Noble also announced that the ‘Read in-store’ program has launched, which allows Nook users to read whatever they want on their device in any B&N store. In addition, Barnes & Noble announced Nook friends, which lets you share what you’re reading via Facebook, Twitter and email, as well as LendMe and ePub support. They will also soon launch, which is a portal that acts as your custom profile to share and connect with friends.

The new Nook will be available for pre-order immediately and is shipping around June 10th. It will be available at B&N locations as well as Best Buy, Walmart and Staples stores. The current Nook will be dropping in price to $119 for the WiFi model and $169 for the 3G model. The older Nook will be available until existing stock is exhausted, at which point it will disappear from the lineup.