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.
Barnes & Noble is going into the weekend having launched a new eBook reader that allows you to read scary stories under the covers at night without any third party accessories. It's the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, the first and only E-Ink based eBook reader that lets you read in the dark, B&N claims. The adjustable GlowLight is said to produce uniform light across the Nook's display, and will do so "without disturbing a sleepy spouse" the way reading with a light on does.
If you can’t beat Apple’s iPad, change the rules of the game. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are taking a bath on sales of the $199 Kindle Fire and the $249 Nook Tablet, respectively, and making up for it with profits on sales of electronic merchandise (e-books, videos, music, and apps). The strategy has succeeded in moving a lot of hardware, with each company on track to sell millions of units (although the ratio of Kindle Fire to Nook Tablet sales is greatly in Amazon’s favor so far). Both tablets feature nearly identical 7-inch, 1024x600 LCDs and rely on Wi-Fi for connectivity. Which should tempt you away from the high-end tablets? Only a bloody-knuckled deathmatch will tell.
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.
Barnes & Noble is banking on better hardware and strategic relationships with third-party content providers being enough to sway potential Kindle Fire buyers over to the upcoming Nook Tablet. Officially unveiled this morning at a press event in New York, B&N confirmed what we already knew via leaked internal documents, which is that the Nook Tablet will be in stores November 17 for $249.
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.
Many wondered if tablets and dedicated eBook readers could coexist, primarily because the former can do everything the latter can do, plus a whole lot more (except read comfortably in direct sunlight). But much lower prices and lighter devices have made sure that eBook readers remain relevant. On top of that, Barnes & Noble appears determined to blur the line between what constitutes a dedicated eReader and a full fledged tablet.