A reader reminded me early this morning that the Yuzu app for the iPad had been updated, inspiring me to take another look at the platform. (Thanks, P!)
According to the listing, the v1.1 Yuzu app has benefited from accessibility improvements and bug fixes, and B&N also reportedly improved the customer experience. I don't have any additional details on what has changed, but P did say that the app seems to be running better.
Scheduled to launch this summer, Yuzu is intended to be B&N's next-gen digital textbook platform. When it officially launches, it will be available on Android, the iPad, and online via major web browsers.
Unfortunately, due to various technical delays, Yuzu is still limited to the iPad, IE, Chrome, and Safari.
But on the plus side, B&N does have the related ebookstore up and running. Yuzu won't let students sideload their own content, so this really is good news. Said ebookstore is still lacking in basic features like categorization, sorting (price, pub date, etc), an index, and free content, but it is able to sell digital textbooks to students.
It's not unusual for new platforms to suffer technical delays, so it's not fair to fault B&N for the issues. But I do have to question their decision to promote Yuzu to college students, some of whom have used the app this summer without realizing that the platform was still in beta.
B&N has been touting Yuzu on the websites of college bookstores it operates. For example, at the bookstore website for my alma mater, B&N describes many of the "benefits" of Yuzu while neglecting to mention that it is still under development. I expect this will prove to have a negative impact on the future of Yuzu; if the students using the platform now have problems they will probably complain and thus discourage other students from even trying.
In fact, the iPad app's 2.5 star rating in iTunes may already be having this effect.