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. First, let's take a look at some shots.
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.
There's no indication that any of these titles will be rentable, though, and the initial list of partners includes only four of the "big six" movie studios here in the US (Universal and Fox are not listed).
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.
So, what's this got to do with Android? Well, the home page of the Nook UK website currently shows the Nook Tablet alongside the e-ink model which is set to launch in the UK.
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. Check out the images and video of the new NOOK in action, and don't forget to hit up Engadget for the hands-on.
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. The book giant has added a note to their Nook Tablet page indicating as much, and telling users (in itty bitty print) when they can have their devices reconfigured:
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. Certainly a bargain, especially considering that the NT is a powerful budget tablet with a small but dedicated developer community backing it up.
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 is trying to strike at Amazon with another device. At its labs in Silicon Valley last week, engineers were putting final touches on their fifth e-reading device, a product that executives said would be released sometime this spring. (A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman declined to elaborate.)
The million dollar question is what, exactly, Barnes & Noble is cooking up.
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.
A new device being rooted may raise few eyebrows nowadays, but for those of you looking for a nice cheap little tablet, the Nook Tablet has taken the first step to becoming yet another hobbyist's favorite. Given the enormous popularity of the Nook Color before it, this bodes well for the future of the Nook Tablet. However, with the release of the $200 Amazon Kindle Fire, no longer is the $250 Nook Tablet alone in American cheap-tablet market, so this development may well help to convince would-be buyers. Over at XDA-Developers, poster Indirect has tested the proven zergRush method on their own Nook Tablet, as well as created a batch file for Windows users to help automate the process.
We've already heard the rumors surrounding Barnes & Noble's next NOOK device, and now those rumors have been realized. B&N just took the wraps off of its NOOK Tablet, and if you've been thinking about picking up a Kindle Fire, you may just want to reconsider. The NOOK Tablet is rocking some serious hardware:
- 7-inch IPS lamination display
- 1GHz dual-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB storage with SD card slot
- Less than 1 pound
- Great battery life -- up to nine hours of video playback; 11.5 hours of reading time
While the hardware is a definite upgrade over the NOOK Color, the look of the device is nearly identical, so owners of the original NC will feel right at home with this device in hand.