There's a surprising lack of options when it comes to Android audiobooks. Sure, there's Audible, but its metered subscription service isn't an ideal solution for a lot of people, and other services tend to be light on content. Audiobook enthusiasts now have another alternative: Barnes & Noble. NOOK (ALL CAPS) Audiobooks is available as a free download on any Android 4.0+ device, though I'm betting that only those in the US can actually buy books.
Barnes & Noble and Samsung appear to be getting along pretty well, for the two companies have now unveiled their second joint tablet: the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1. Just like the previous Nook tablet, this is a Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 with some added software tweaks that place emphasis on reading and consuming content from Barnes & Noble. The tablet is available for a launch price of $299 (following a $50 instant rebate), which puts it right in line with the price of the non-Nook version of the slate.
When Barnes & Noble and Samsung announced that they were going to work together to produce a Nook tablet, it was unclear just what this would entail. Now the tablet is available for purchase, and to be upfront, it doesn't look all that different from any other Samsung product. Setting aside the predictable hardware, we're looking at a TouchWiz tablet with a few Nook apps and a dedicated reading button on the homescreen.
A year ago Barnes & Noble closed the book on its Nook line of tablets, opting to lend the brand out to other manufacturers instead. Now we're seeing the first Android device to capitalize on this idea. Take a guess as to which company decided, sure, I'll make a Nook tablet. That's right, none other than Samsung. When you're already flooding the market with umpteen different tablet variants, what's one more?
Barnes & Noble may be bailing out of the tablet race, but that doesn't mean they're giving up on distributing digital content. Today the bookseller that also happens to sell movies, school supplies, electronics, and accessories is similarly expanding its media streaming portfolio. The company is hoping to grow its audience with the release of Nook Video into the Play Store.
The Nook Video app is free to download, and customers are able to rent and purchase movies and TV shows without a subscription.
Dear Barnes & Noble: bless you, ladies and gentlemen, for making the Nook Color. Without it, the Android modding scene might be less vibrant than it is now. On that note, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight (a Kindle-style e-ink reader, also running Android) has received another price drop. Now you can pick one up for a cool $99 - not bad for a device that launched at the already-low price of $139.
If you're looking for a cheap, mod-worthy tablet with a great screen, look no further. Today eBay Daily Deals has the Nook HD+, with a 9-inch, 1920x1280 screen and built-in access to the Google Play Store for just $119.99. It's a refurbished model, but that's $30 and 20% cheaper than the already-low $150 retail price. The eBay listing has free standard shipping, plus you won't have to pay sales tax outside of New Jersey and New York.
The folks on the CyanogenMod team are always adding new devices to their ever-increasing list, and over the last few days they've added no less than eleven more. According to a pair of Google+ posts, there are new officially-supported phones and tablets including two Barnes & Noble Nooks, a ton of Motorola devices, and a few Samsungs thrown in for good measure. Here's the full list:
- Barnes & Noble Nook HD (hummingbird)
- Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ (ovation)
- Motorola Atrix HD (mb886)
- Motorola Photon Q - GSM (xt897)
- Motorola Photon Q - CDMA (xt897c)
- Motorola Droid Razr M (xt907)
- Motorola Razr HD - GSM (xt925)
- Motorola Droid Razr HD - CDMA (xt926)*
- Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G (apexqtmo)
- Samsung Galaxy S4 - C Spire (jfltecsp)
- Samsung Verizon Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE (i925)
*These builds may also work for the DROID RAZR MAXX HD.
Barnes & Noble may be toning down its Android tablet business, but they'd still really appreciate it if you bought some books from them. To that end, they've updated the Nook Android app to version 3.4, with a focus on better magazine browsing and book images. Now Android tablets with a resolution of 1280x720 or higher (which should be pretty much everything made in the last year, barring some off-brand hardware) have access to bigger, sharper HD scans of magazines.
I've taken a less conventional path into the world of Android. I owned a Honeycomb tablet long before I finally got my hands on my first smartphone, and before that, my first Android device was a Nook Color (I booted CyanogenMod from a microSD card, so it was legit). It is due to this background that I am sad to see Barnes & Noble end in-house development of its Nook line of tablets.