Welcome back to the tablet scene, Barnes and Noble
After failing to compete in sales with the likes of Amazon and its Kindle Fire line, Barnes and Noble is officially invested in tablets again with the introduction of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. The Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is essentially a combination of the Android-based Nook platform baked into the Samsung's Galaxy Tab 4 hardware and billed as the first ever full-featured Android slate.
The Nook is getting a makeover courtesy of Samsung
Talk of tablets rarely falls on the Nook, which fair or not has been largely overshadowed by competing slates. Looking to change that, Barnes and Noble has teamed up with Samsung to develop co-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablets featuring B&N's digital reading experience. The new device will mesh Samsung's Galaxy Tab 4 hardware with customized Nook software.
As 2013 came and went, there was nary a new Nook tablet in sight. It would be easy to assume Barnes and Noble had given up on tablet hardware, but apparently that's not the case. Instead, Barnes and Noble confirmed it's planning to release a new Nook model sometime this year, though details are sparse -- about the only thing we know is that it's going to be a color device (tablet) as opposed to a black and white model (e-reader).
Print media hasn't fared super well in the face of digital distribution. Turns out, a lot of people prefer live pixels to dead trees. So what's a company like Barnes & Noble -- with serious cash invested in both brick-and-mortar stores and the digital Nook ecosystem -- supposed to do in this new era of reading? The answer, apparently, lies in spinning off the Nook into an entirely new subsidiary company -- and giving Microsoft a 17.6 percent stake in the fresh venture. B&N did just that this morning.
Owners of the Kindle Fire were certainly fired up when Amazon disabled root access in the newest firmware update, but Nook Tablet users have even more reason to be upset. The newest update to Barnes and Noble’s device not only kills root access, but blocks the installation of third-party apps completely.
The Nook Color and its new brother The Nook Tablet have been more or less locked down in the Barnes and Noble provided interface. That says nothing of custom ROMs and the like, but for user that don’t want to go so far there is another option on the new Tablet. According to some industrious users, the web browser can be used to download apps. The process is far from perfect, but it’s better than nothing.
Over the last year, Microsoft has embarked on a crusade to secure license fees from device makers that use the Android operating system. While Google provides the Android source code for free, Microsoft claims to own patents infringed by Android. most OEMs have capitulated and payed up, but Barnes and Noble, which sells the Nook line of e-readers, has gone to court. Today, the bookseller turned tablet-pusher has asked the feds to get involved. B&N claims that regulators should investigate Microsoft for attempting to drive competition out of business.
According to Engadget, Barnes and Noble will indeed be announcing a Nook Color successor at its event on November 16th. The leaked documents obtained by Engadget refer to the device as the Nook Tablet, but that could be a placeholder. The specs of the Nook Tablet are strikingly similar to those of the soon to be released Kindle Fire, but just a bit better in some ways. The new Tablet is expected to look very similar to the original Nook Color, and is expected to sell for $250 at launch.
We like it when Amazon and Barnes & Noble go to war with each other. We like it because when the two sides try to undercut and one-up each other, the consumer wins every time. These two are responsible for sparking an eBook reader price war that brought significant savings to the eReader market in a short period of time, and it looks as though the two sides are getting ready to force the other's hand once more.
Is that the sound of Tap being played off in the distance? It appears that despite seeking debt restructuring and filing for bankruptcy was not enough to save Borders from its fate. The chain is closing up shop, taking all its remaining 399 stores with it. 11,000 employees are expected to be out of work.