A new Android tablet from Barnes & Noble has gone on sale, based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. The release follows a change of strategy from the company when it comes to NOOK tablets, with the bookseller now working with a third party manufacturer, rather than developing its own hardware.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is identical in terms of spec to the original model of the same tablet. With both versions priced at $179 (€135/£110), Barnes & Noble is hoping to entice consumers with the offer of $200 (€150/£120) worth of free NOOK content.
Books, magazine and TV shows are included in the free content offer, although these have been preselected, with customer unable to chose their own. There is, however, $5 worth of credit included as part of the free content offer, which can be spent in NOOK’s digital stores.
Like the original version of the tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK runs Android 4.4 KitKat. NOOK apps will also come preinstalled on Barnes & Noble’s version of the device, and there is access to Google Play Store.
Barnes & Noble have been struggling financially in recently times and some commentators have been predicting the imminent demise of the NOOK brand as a result. That said, a year ago, Android Wafer wrote of the possibility of Barnes & Noble partnering with an established hardware company, in order to produce future tablets.
The arrangement will offer benefits for both Samsung and Barnes & Noble. In the case of Samsung, one of its products will receive marketing and significant floor space from a prominent US retailer.
Barnes & Noble, meanwhile, are well aware that consumers tend to remain loyal to the default digital stores that are shipped on their devices.
The bookseller now has a good quality, modern NOOK tablet, and has not had to invest in costly hardware research and development.
The inclusion of Google Play is a mixed blessing, from Barnes & Noble’s perspective. Google’s digital store will make the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK a more attractive proposition, but it will also provide competition for NOOK ebook, video and magazine content.
At present, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is only available in the US. Barnes & Noble have not confirmed whether it will be sold in the UK, or if there are even plans to expand further across Europe.
The NOOK GlowLight – Barnes & Noble’s most recent e-ink ereader – was launched in the UK earlier this month. Whilst it was encouraging to see that the company remains committed to the UK market, the release of the NOOK GlowLight came over nine months after it initially went on sale in the US.
If there are plans to release the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK in the UK, then the partnership between Barnes & Noble and a global electronics giant should prove particularly helpful. Any international roll-out should happen much quicker than was the case with the NOOK GlowLight, as the original Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is already on sale across the world, including in the UK.