A new NOOK…sort of

A new NOOK…sort of

I last wrote about a new NOOK back at Halloween.

Now, Barnes & Noble announces in this

press release

a new NOOK tablet.

It’s not exactly a NOOK, or at least, not just a NOOK. It’s co-branded with Samsung…it’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK.

I had a Galaxy S4 phone which I really liked, although I gave it up for my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which I am starting to like more and more as its easy access to recent activities are becoming more populated. For example, I’ve been driving to places where I need to use GPS. I can easily see my history of searches I’ve done…right from the Carousel. I also like that I get notifications about packages being delivered from Amazon or en route…and I’m made aware of them from the lock screen.

Let’s get back to this new device

Official Page

and the press release.

It’s a 7″ wi-fi only tablet. The screen resolution is 1280 x 800, with 216 ppi.

That’s the same resolution as a

Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

and I think that’s the best direct comparison.

The NOOK is a lot more expensive.

With Special Offers (which is the more popular configuration), the 8 GB (same size as the NOOK) Kindle Fire HD is $139. Without Special Offers, it’s $154.

The new “Samsunook” 😉 is $179…and that’s after a $20 rebate from the $199 price.

The Samsunook is notably lighter…about 20% lighter (9.74 oz versus 12.2 oz…276g to 345g). It’s also a bit thinner.

The Samsunook has a micro-SD slot. The KFHD doesn’t.

The Samsunook comes with two cameras: 1.3 MP front, 3.0 rear. The KFHD has zero.

The Samsunook directly supports Google Play and ePUB files…the KFHD doesn’t.

Interestingly, I didn’t find the processor speed right away. Online sources suggest it is 1.2 ghz…slower than the KFHD’s 1.5 ghz.

So, yes, the Samsunook has some advantages.

I don’t see any of this making people stand up and cheer, though. I think the most persuasive thing for someone looking for a cheap tablet compared to the Kindle Fires is the presence of the cameras.

They are also saying it comes with $200 worth of content.

The press release says:

“Free with Purchase: $200 in Popular NOOK Content
Barnes & Noble will welcome all Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK customers with more than $200 of free NOOK reading and entertainment content, including three free bestselling eBooks Freakonomics, The Wanderer, and I Am Number Four, and an episode each of three hit TV shows: HBO’s Veep, NBC’s Hannibal, and BBC America’s Orphan Black. As part of the package, magazine lovers can choose up to four 14-day free trial subscriptions from a selection of 12 popular magazines – including Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, US Weekly and more, and also receive the previous 12 issues of each title at no cost. A $5 credit will also help customers get started as they explore the NOOK Store. More detail on the free NOOK content offer can be found at NOOK.com.”

If we look at those prices at Amazon…

  • Freakonomics $10.99
  • The Wanderer $4.00
  • I Am Number Four $1.99
  • Veep (HD): $2.99
  • Hannibal (HD): $2.99
  • Orphan Black (HD): $2.99

Let’s see…that’s about $25.

Then there is a $5 credit.

I think they are counting a lot of the money in those back issues. A current single issue of Cosmopolitan is $3.99 at Amazon…so 12 of them would be $47.88 (if you could buy the back issues).

You can also buy a year for $9.99…$0.83 an issue.

So, I’m not that impressed with the $200…but it will sound like a break even to some people.

My opinion?

It’s an okay tablet, not a stand out…people will have to want to have a NOOK to make it work. Fortunately for Samsung, it would be easy to convert it if the B&N branding became a liability or non-existent.

As to that press release…

It has some very interesting statistics, supporting the value of reading. This one in particular stood out:

“Seventy-six percent of U.S. adults state their reading habits have increased over the past three years, and nearly half, over two in five (44 percent), attribute access to an eReader, tablet or smartphone as the reason.”

I’ve been saying that I think the easy availability of e-books has probably increased the number of books being read. Certainly, anecdotally, I’ve heard that from people…they say that they used to read a lot, then it fell off     (sometimes busy lives are mentioned), and after the convenience of having books handy (on EBRs ((E-Book Readers)), tablets, and/or phones), it’s increased again.

However, we have to take that stat in the press release with a grain of salt, since they apparently are counting personal e-mail and social media, among others. I recommend you take a look at the press release…intriguing stuff.

I see some pushback in the comments, thinking it isn’t enough…but that happens with pretty much every new product release. 😉

We’ll see how this affects the stock of both companies…it’s kind of a drop n the bucket for Samsung, but really important for Barnes & Noble.

What does it mean for Kindleers?

Competition is good…but I’m not sure how much competition this is. We could hope that it nudges Amazon towards two cameras on future Kindle Fires…

The KFHDX blows this away, in my opinion…thanks in part to Mayday, the almost instant onscreen tech help. People will like having Google Play on the Samsunook, although you can get a lot of those apps (at least the popular ones) for your Fire through 1mobile and other sources.

What do you think? Do you care about this at all? Does it matter that B&N indicates it will continue to support non-tablet NOOKs? Does the all capital version of the name bug you? 😉 Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


6 Responses to “A new NOOK…sort of”

  1. Bob Anderson Says:

    Kindle Fire HD has a camera, not a very useful one, but it is there.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Bob!

      The current generation HD doesn’t have a camera…the early gen one did. I was comparing to the current one.

      The new HD sort of replaced the old SD version…the HDX is a lot higher “D” (definition) than the current HD.

      I never have liked that Amazon uses the same name for different models…it can be confusing. 🙂

      • Bob Anderson Says:

        Hmmm, ok… that is confusing. Canon has done the same with some camera names. My (old) HD has a camera, and I have used a few times. The new Nook looks very nice, I like the Samsung devices, size, features and display is good for price. Full google store access beats Kindle.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Not very interesting to me, but I am giving a talk locally on how to spend your money this holiday season (:grin) — so I’m collecting all the new phone, tablet, tv, etc announcements — this goes in the pot with the rest (the first two weeks of Sept are shaping up to have a lot of announcements. Of course I also expect Amazon to refresh the kindles (especially the fires).

    Of the two things that the Samsnook has: epub and access to the Google Play store: I think epub can be gotten on fires via apps (not sure about DRM tho)?

    As for the Google Play store this only matters if you need access to Google native apps (Gmail, G+, YouTube, etc). This is a problem not only for Amazon, but for other Google competitors. One possible solution would be for Amazon to undertake development of first class replacement Google apps. OTOH MS tried this with YouTube, and Google put so many roadblocks in their way that eventually MS gave up.

    I find it very encouraging that you are finding that your Fire Phone’s usability is improving the more you use it — just another example of not putting too much credence on “loaner reviews” right after product announcements in the tech press (:grin)

    • Tom Semple Says:

      ‘Your mileage may vary,’ but it is more than a problem with access to Google native apps. Many non Google apps use Google APIs and services, and those simply will not work properly on a Fire, even if you manage to side load them. So for example, Chromecast support is non-existent when it comes to apps in the Appstore, where there are dozens in GP. I have side-loaded the YouTube app on my Fire, but I can’t login with my Google account. Etc. Paid apps tend to be DRM protected so side-loading is not possible.

      Moreover, Amazon ’embargoes’ Fire users from getting most ePub reading apps and third party browsers that are actually listed in the Amazon Appstore. It was only recently that DropBox and OneDrive were available, though they have been in the Appstore from day one.

      Finally, developer mindset is still ‘iOS first, Android second, Fire maybe’. Fire market share has varied, but I doubt it is more than about 5% right now, and it will take a lot just to maintain that. GP apps typically get updates months before they arrive for the corresponding app in Amazon Appstore. And the ‘designed for Fire’ apps aren’t updated as frequently.

      Apple’s iOS is usually held up as the prototype of the ‘walled garden’ approach to ecosystem. But in fact the Fire is more isolated and less inter-operable with other ecosystems than either Android or iOS. That probably doesn’t matter for most requirements, but it is a weakness of the Fire ecosystem, and one that is likely to persist.

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    You can get a 16GB Nexus 7 (2013) on eBay for $179, 32GB for $199. It is a significantly better device and value than this is.

    Samsung makes good hardware, but shipping a 8GB tablet (of which only about 4GB is left for use) in 2014 is some form of malpractice. At least Amazon does not charge $200 for theirs. SD expansion will be almost a necessity for most users, adding to cost and inconvenience of ownership.

    I would note that the NOOK lineup is now at a bare minimum: just two devices. No word on whether there will be a 10″ tablet, my guess is that there will not. They haven’t quite given up but it looks like they are hunkering down after several years of carrying excess inventory that they couldn’t give away, and are determined not to repeat those mistakes. Have they stopped the bleeding? We will see.

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