For a lot of Android users out there, the Nook Color was their first exposure to the platform, or at least their first exposure to the magic of root and custom ROMs. The tablet's unlocked bootloader (from the days before B&N caught wise and started protecting its loss-leader business model) made it easy to convert into a "full" Android device. The CyanogenMod family of ROMs was one of the first reliable alternatives to the base software, and despite the aging hardware, the latest update is now available for the Nook Color.
For some reason, B&N's press release covering the announcement focuses primarily on the tablets' weight – both the 7" NOOK HD and its 9" HD+ counterpart are the "lightest HD and full HD tablets," with the HD+ earning the title of "lightest, lowest-priced full HD tablet ever." There's so much more to the new set of NOOK tablets, though.
Going where no book store has gone before (as far as I'm aware), Barnes & Noble announced that it's launching a movie streaming and download service today called NOOK Video. The storefront will offer streaming options from a variety of content partners like Viacom, Warner Bros, HBO, and others. B&N also plans to launch a companion app for the service, which will presumably be available on a variety of Android phones and tablets, as well as the company's Android-powered NOOK tablets.
Although Barnes & Noble is an established name in the US, this will be the first time that the company has made itself known on this side of the pond. With no brand recognition, it will have a tough time competing against the likes of Amazon, who just recently partnered with Waterstones to bring the Kindle to the high street.
eReaders have long been plagued with the problem of being damn near useless in low-light scenarios, but thanks to the recently announced NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight, those days are finally past us. Using a front-lit (as opposed to backlit, which doesn't really work with eInk) display, the new Simple Touch eReader allows you to enjoy the pleasure of eInk reading without having to worry about adequate ambient lighting.
This should be especially good news for those who enjoy reading in bed or during long flights.
Anyone that has ever spent any length of time with an e-ink based e-reader like the Kindle or Nook can attest to their uselessness in dark spaces. Now it looks like Barnes and Noble is going to be taking a crack at fixing that shortcoming of e-readers in an effort to gain some traction in its battle against Amazon. Leaked signage points to an updated Nook Simple Touch with a front-lit screen, and it might be here sooner than you think.
Users of Barnes & Noble's 16GB Nook Tablet may be aware of the device's rather strict memory partitioning, which currently reserves 12 of the available 13GB of memory exclusively for Nook Store content. This means users have a paltry 1GB of storage space for their own personal content, unless they opt for a microSD card.
With the announcement of the Nook Tablet's 8GB variant (which allows users 4 of the available 5GB of storage space), it looks like B&N has decided to reach out to customers of the 16GB model, allowing them to have their devices repartitioned more fairly.
Barnes & Noble this morning took the wraps off of a new, 8GB version of the Nook Tablet set to compete dollar-for-dollar with the Kindle Fire. The 8GB Nook Tablet is packing slightly less impressive hardware than its 16GB brother, as B&N cut both the storage and RAM (512MB in this version) in half for this little guy, which puts it on par with Amazon's supercharged e-reader. The Nook Tablet still has one clear advantage, however: a microSD card slot.
Leave it to the New York Times to stuff a zinger like this in a three-page piece on the future of the publishing industry; it looks like Barnes & Noble is set to announce a new Nook device come this Spring. This will be B&N's fifth Nook device, following the Nook Tablet.
From the New York Times:
Barnes & Noble announced today that it is considering selling its NOOK business, citing significant shortfalls in sales and cutting its full-year forecast.
B&N also cited NOOK sales which fell below expectations, and investments in advertising and expansion as reasons for a predicted shortfall in fiscal 2012 sales of between $200 million and $320 million less than average estimates of $7.32 billion.
The major bookseller indicated that it plans to market the NOOK for "years to come," but that it "over-anticipated the growth in consumer demand for single-purpose black-and-white reading devices this holiday," as the company's simplest e-reader lagged far behind in sales compared to other members of the NOOK family.