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.
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.
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.
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.
Though it has garnered a lot less attention than Amazon's Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble's latest NOOK - the NOOK Tablet - it was released to solid reviews. The $50 price premium over the Fire - while warranted because of the doubled internal storage, doubled RAM, and SD card slot - also helped the Kindle Fire sell more units. Now, though, the Tablet is on sale for $199 with free shipping at eBay Daily Deals - meaning it matches the price of the less powerful Kindle Fire.