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Barnes and Noble is offering a discount for online orders for the brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. US residents can order it directly from the Barnes and Noble website and get the tablet until September 14th for $169.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is a stark contrast to all previous Nook tablets, because it has two cameras, a vanilla version of Android and the ability to really customize your own experience. Prior models of the Nook had a UI that was hard to change, this the Samsung Nook allows you to install your own keyboards, launchers and widgets.

International users can get value from the new Samsung Nook tablet, since you can download apps now from the B&N official app store and get expanded content from Google Play. The only limitations right now is renting to buying television shows or movies directly from Barnes and Noble. eBooks, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels and kids books are all easily purchased.

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Before I begin, let me assert: I do not hate Samsung and I do in fact like many of their products. Heck, in many ways I actually think that their new Galaxy Note Edge is prettier to look at than Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus. What I do find disappointing is that the day after Apple’s big announcement, Samsung responds with a series of ads that do little more than bash their competition.

Each of the advertisements centre around a couple of guys, behaving like idiots, that intentionally remind us of Apple Store employees. They mock things like the poor-quality of the Apple live-stream during the keynote at the event this week, and make jokes that are clearly supposed to poke fun at the hype surrounding the products Apple announced.

In reality, the advertisements look ridiculous and feel almost petty. Not only are they so annoying I can barely watch them, they communicate absolutely nothing of any value. Of course Apple is going to demo new products at a -product launch- (it should also go without saying that they would try to generate some excitement and hype while doing so).

Whether Samsung has a better product line isn’t clear and the company comes across as childish. Apple is probably delighted by the campaign: anybody who sees the ads is more likely to hit Apple’s website to see the new products for themselves than they are to become instant Samsung loyalists. In my view, Samsung would have been better advised to produce thoughtful (and classy) advertisements that detail exactly why their products are the right choices –comparing features, offering incentives, and providing actual details.

Curious? Watch the ads for yourself and see if you agree:

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I’m impressed with any manufacturer willing to release a new product the day after a major Apple event. This go-around, Dell has announced that they have the “world’s thinnest tablet” in their new Venue 8 7000 device. Featuring an 8.4″ screen-size, the profile of the Venue 8 7000 is only 6mm thick (thin).

There are other tablets that come in close: Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S is 6.6mm thick, while Sony has their Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact that measures in at 6.4mm. For the moment, it seems like Dell is winning in this particular arena, but the rest of the tablet looks pretty decent as well –boasting a screen resolution of 2560×1600, RealSense digital photography technology (that is able to create a depth map of an image, giving a rudimentary understanding of object positions located across 3D space instead of only a 2D plane), and an Intel Z3500 quad-core CPU (running between 1.33GHz to 2.33GHz depending on the model).

There isn’t a price yet, or a specific release date –other than Intel is suggesting it will be available in time for the holidays this year.

Intel had more big news besides the release of a Dell-branded tablet: the technology giant also announced that they are working with Google to create the “Intel Reference Design for Android,” intended to serve as a developer tablet that will help manufacturers get their new products to market faster. Built with pre-approved components, the reference tablets will ship ready to pass Google Media Services standards –giving would-be OEMs something to use as a base.

Putting a big name like Intel so firmly behind Android can only mean good things going forward for the operating system.

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Samsung kicked off the September of product launches with an event that brought us a new Galacy Note 4, Note Edge, Gear S Watch, and Gear VR Headset. When you are the company usually accused of copying Apple and their designs… it takes guts to hold your event first, and it takes talent to release products that get people talking. Samsung accomplished both of these things.

Galaxy Note Edge

We saw hints of this curved display (from a distance) over a year ago, but it looks even more amazing when up close. The Galaxy Note Edge is an innovative looking smartphone with a display that rounds off over the right hand side of the screen. It’s sleek. It’s sexy. It’s DIFFERENT. While it may make putting this phone inside a case a bit more of a challenge, that isn’t something consumers have to worry about. It appears practical (allowing you to slide menu items off to the side while still keeping them touchable and accessible. It’s extra screen real-estate (to the tune of 160 rows of extra pixels) without making a larger device –and it’s exciting!

While this is a bit of a monster as far as smartphones are concerned, the Edge offers a lot of function that may be attractive to power users (unless you happen to be left handed, initial reports are telling us that the screen feels sharp and uncomfortable on the tapered side).

The specs of the phone are the same as the Note 4, so keep reading to learn more.

Galaxy Note 4

Coming in at 3.8mm narrower than the Not Edge, but 2.2mm longer, the Galaxy Note 4 is apparently a little more comfortable to hold. It doesn’t have the beautiful tapered side, but it’s still an updated version of the over-sized 5.7″ Note that many smartphone users have come to love. It now has an aluminum frame, making it look classier and higher-end –which is good, when you are trying to market a device as a premium smartphone. The glass appears flat, but it is 2.5D, meaning there is a subtle bend along the edges of the screen.

Other improvements are standard fare: an improved front-facing camera (with a 3.7MP sensor and an aperture of f/1.9 giving better low-light photographs), improved battery (going from 3,200mAh to 3,220mAh), Super AMOLED screen that improves on the previous 1080p resolution (now 2,560×1,440), upgraded rear-facing camera (16MP over the previous 13MP), and a faster 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor with a 600MHz Adreno 420 GPU. The RAM remains the same as the Note 3, at 3GB. 32GB and 64GB models will be available, which means you can bump it up to 128GB with a 64GB microSD card (unfortunately the device doesn’t support using a 128GB card).

Those of you who were watching the S5 with great interest, will be happy to know that the fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor are now included in the Note.

For anybody who didn’t like the unsightly USB 3.0 connector found on the Note 3, Samsung has moved back to USB 2.0 on this new phone –it seems hardly anybody took advantage of the higher speeds, so the manufacturer went with form over function in this area.

Gear S Smartwatch

Samsung has been playing in the wearables market for a while now, with the latest entry being the Gear S. It is larger than most other smartwatches, with a curved 2-inch AMOLED screen that features a 480×360 pixel resolution. Powered by a 1GHz processor and backed by 512MB of RAM, the Gear S runs Tizen capably. There are a few gadgets and gizmos of course, with a GPS sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, UV detector, barometer, and heart rate monitor.

Meant to be a compliment to a smartphone, the Gear S can function on its own as well –running many of its own apps and even featuring a QWERTY touch keyboard (which can only be described as awkward).

Gear VR Headset

Capitalizing on the virtual reality excitement in the tech marketplace these days, Samsung has announced the Gear VR headset. It isn’t a standalone product, with no CPU of its own –but it does feature the Galaxy Note 4’s quad HD display to deliver impressive and immersive graphics.

It looks a little old-school, basically looking like a large plastic rectangle when placed over your eyes –making me wonder why they wouldn’t just release a cradle style holster so any of the Note smartphones could function as this device.

There isn’t much in the way of content available for this headset just yet –but stay tuned, the more this technology is implemented, the more developers will create titles for it.

The one way Samsung failed at this event is that they didn’t tell us exactly what these new toys will cost us, or when exactly we can get our hands on them (other than saying ‘in October’). This is an area where Apple tends to excel, letting all of their announcements finish with answers to the who/what/when/where/why/how much questions we are dying to ask.

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First thing tomorrow morning, September 3, Samsung will unveil their Galaxy Note 4 (their flagship 5.7″ behemoth smartphone). Microsoft is set to discuss the Lumia 730 smartphone on September 4. The following day on September 5, Motorola will give us all the details on their Moto 360 smartwatch as well as the successors to the Moto X and G. Not long afterward, Apple will launch the iPhone 6 on September 9. Not to be forgotten, BlackBerry has announced that they will host a major event on September 24.

The only company brave (or stupid) enough to follow Apple.

With the announcement that the BlackBerry event will help us to “see the bigger picture,” it is expected that their new Passport device will be properly launched (with an expected 4.5-inch square display with a resolution of 1,440×1,440 pixels). While it may seem like a ridiculous form-factor to many consumers shopping for a new smartphone, be sure to consider that most of their clients are using them in a business setting where a larger and wider screen could be put to good use. The Passport is also expected to come with a new style of keyboard that promises to be “responsive to touch, so you have more ways to control your smartphone without having to use the touchscreen.”

Even if you aren’t quite sold, it has to peak your curiosity.

One thing worth considering, is that no matter the dates of these announcements –it all comes down to two questions: what day will they ship? will there be enough hardware available in a timely manner to adequately meet the demands of the consumers?

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Barnes and Noble has collaborated with Samsung for the latest generation Nook tablet. Samsung provided the hardware and B&N designed custom reading apps for Android, which gives users a very unique experience. How does this new device compare to the Nook HD or Nook Tablet and is it a viable upgrade?



The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a seven inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1280 x 800. The resolution overall is a big of a downgrade from the Nook HD, but not enough to be noticeable for your average user.

Underneath the hood is a 1.2 GHZ quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, plus support for MicroSD (up to 32GB) The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a 3Mp rear camera and 1.3Mp front-facing webcam, with the former capable of 720p video recording at 30fps. This is the first time a Nook device will have front and rear cameras.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook measures 186.9x9x107.9mm and weighs 276g. Part of this weight comes from the 4000mAh battery, claimed to allow for up to 10 hours of video, 190 hours of audio, or 10 hours of internet usage.

When it comes to the audio experience there is a single speaker on the back, but it is in stereo. This allows you to listen to audiobooks, music, video or the read aloud feature in kids books.

Barnes and Noble tried to stem the tide of constant financial losses in their Nook division by outsourcing the hardware to Samsung. This is a double edged sword because there is no Nook branding on the tablet at all. If the device is totally powered down, you would have no idea that it is anything else but a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4.



Every single tablet that Barnes and Noble has even released ran a heavily skinned version of Google Android. This was the same tactic that both Amazon and Kobo employed to make their devices stand out in the crowd. The Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook is the first time users get a vanilla Android experience, allowing them to install live wallpapers and even change their keyboards.

Instead of heavily augmenting Android, Barnes and Noble has firmly embraced it. They company has developed a series of custom apps that get users participating in the booksellers ecosystem. There is a dedicated store, Nook Video, Library, eBook Reading Apps, Nook Search, custom settings menu and the ability to view all of the notes and annotations you have ever made.

One of the strongest benefits of the new Samsung tablet is the ability to finally download apps from outside the US and UK. The Nook App Store used to lock customers out of purchasing or downloading apps, due to geolocation. This seems to be disabled in the new Nook, which allows users to download apps not only from B&N but also Google Play. The only limitation placed on customers is Nook Video, you still have to be in the US to buy or rent videos or television shows.

The Home screen mainly comprises of all of your Nook Reading App, Nook Store and a bunch of official Google ones. Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, Play and all of the standard Google apps are all included in a mini folder. If you swipe the screen from the right to the left on the edge of the bezel there is a side screen full of apps. By default, its all the official Google ones, but you can add or remove any of them there, adding to the customization capabilities.

The one thing I really want to focus on during this review is the Nook content and not really dwelling on the standard Android functionality.

Nook Library


The Nook Library houses all of the purchases you have made from Barnes and Noble. This includes eBooks, comics, magazines, newspapers, television shows. There is a shop button on the top right hand corner, which opens up their online store that sells all of the content.

eBooks are opened by the quintessential Nook app for Android, which has been available on Google Play for years. One of the things I always liked about reading on the Nook is the different backgrounds. Kobo and Kindle have always just had three different background colors, but Nook has six. You can easily change the bright white background to Sepia or different shades of off-white. This makes it easier to read in the dark, without having to strain your eyes. I also dig the way Nook handles animated page turns, wikipedia lookups and built in dictionary.

Magazines and Newspapers are opened via a special Nook for Magazine app that has been completely revised for this new Samsung model. The one thing I really like, aside from the animated page turns is “article view.” This strips away all of the images and CSS and turns a magazine into an eBook.

Nook Shop


The Nook Shop was designed as a standalone app that lets you browse books, magazines, movies & TV, Kids, Apps, Newspapers and Comics. The only thing international users cannot access is media content, but all others are completely viable. The Home screen is curated content by the Nook team, currently they are hyping “Passion for Passion” and “Your Favorite Heroes.”

Nook Search


Nook Search is a standalone app that allows you to type in key terms that you want to look for in the shop. You can look at specific keywords, such as “post apocalyptic” or “Potter.” It will then give you a huge list of titles matching your search results in everything B&N offers in their store.

Nook Today


Nook Today scans all of the content you purchase or samples you access from the online store. It then gives you a recommended reading list, which helps with discovery. In addition, it remembers your results from Nook Search and also recommends similar titles.

Nook Settings


The last unique aspect of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is the customized Nook Settings. Now it is important to note that you do have access to traditional Android settings too.

Nook settings allows you to control the way all of the dedicated Nooks apps behave. You can download alternative dictionaries and make them your default. Right now there is only six, but I was told more are on the way.

You can also control the way the magazine and eBook reading apps function. Cool options include turning off animated page turns, or two page layout in landscape. This is also where you can associate your Ultraviolet account with Nook Video to get the digital copies of the movies you buy from retail stores.

Wrap up

Good e-Reader has reviewed every single tablet Barnes and Noble has ever released, from the Nook Color to the Nook HD. This tablet is a step in the right direction. It gives you a unique e-reading experience and allows a deep level of customization.

I like the fact you can opt into dealing with Barnes and Noble, but aren’t exclusively roped into it. Google Play allows you to basically downloading any 3rd party reading app, Overdrive Media Console, Amazon Kindle, Kobo or thousands of others.


Reading digital books is impressive
Tons of unique Nook Apps
Allows you to download any app you want from Google
Live Wallpapers and Widgets


Setup involved a Google, Samsung and Nook account.
Speaker quality is not the greatest
No Barnes and Noble branding on the hardware

Rating: 8.5/10


Meet Stella, the fiercest and feistiest of the Angry Birds (and quite possibly the prettiest). Together with her closest friends: Dahlia, Poppy, Willow, and Luca, she will battle her used-to-be BFF, Gale –the Bad Princess who now has Minion Pigs at her disposal! Set on Golden Island in the Big Tree, Stella joins a long list of Angry Birds-themed games (with my favourite so far being Angry Birds Star Wars).

With a starring cast full of female protagonists, Angry Birds Stella looks to be a colourful and charismatic addition to the franchise. Gameplay should be familiar, with the requisite slingshot weaponry pitting good guys against dopey hog servants –which is just what we find comforting (and entertaining).

Angry Birds Stella will be available this upcoming September 4, 2014, but for those of you near to a Barnes and Noble, you can give the game a test-drive on one of their in-store Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablets beginning this Friday, August 29, 2014. Moves like this might be what keep brick and mortar style stores alive in this growing eCommerce age, with consumers looking for compelling reasons to actually step foot on a retail floor.

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Barnes and Noble has just launched a brand new tablet in conjunction with Samsung. It costs $179 with a $20 mail in rebate, but the bookseller is hyping the fact you get an extra $200 worth of free content. What free stuff are they actually giving out?

When you pick up a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook you get three free eBooks. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, The Wanderer by Sharon Creech and I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.

Customers can also pick 4 digital magazines from a pool of 12 for a free two week trial. There is a ton of great content, including Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, and US Weekly. Back issues are also available for your selected magazines at no extra cost.

Nook Video is giving free content to the hit HBO Series Veep, Hannibal, and Orphan Black.

New Barnes and Noble customers are also automatically given $5.00 in free credit when they buy the new tablet, giving them the ability to either get an eBook for free or use the money to subsidize a new mainstream bestseller.

Barnes and Noble is really hyping the free content as a way to lure existing customers to upgrade and offer a big incentive to new people looking for a tablet billed as an e-reader.

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Barnes and Noble is holding a press event at Union Square in New York City August the 20th. They will be formally unveiling the two new tablets they are working on, in conjunction with Samsung.

In the past, Barnes and Noble always did their own hardware design and outsourced the manufacturing. They also developed their own skinned version of Android and ecosystem with apps, movies and games. This was too much for them to handle and gravitated their customer base into using Google Play for everything but books, magazines and newspapers.

Working with Samsung was a tremendous benefit to Barnes and Noble because they only have to be responsible for the software side of things. They will be using existing Samsung hardware, which should allow them to focus on a great user experience.

I am fairly excited to see what the new braintrust at Barnes and Noble has in store for us. Most of the old executives that oversaw the entire Nook product line have all left the company. With all of the new blood working to make Nook a success, it will be very interesting to see what the final product looks like.

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Samsung should take note that Microsoft doesn’t fool around when patent license payments arrive late. Microsoft asserts that they have hundreds of patents that are required for any manufacturer making Android phones: Samsung included.

Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel for Microsoft, David Howard, spoke toward the lawsuit, stating that: “Today’s legal action is simply to enforce our contract with Samsung. We don’t take lightly filing a legal action, especially against a company with which we’ve enjoyed a long and productive partnership.” He also noted that: “After spending months trying to resolve our disagreement, Samsung has made clear in a series of letters and discussions that we have a fundamental disagreement as to the meaning of our contract.”

With Microsoft earning between $1B and $2B in patent license revenue made from royalties, this business is one of their most profitable. This is especially true when you consider Howard’s comments on the dominance and success of Samsung’s current phone business:

“So what changed? Since Samsung entered into the agreement, its smartphone sales have quadrupled and it is now the leading worldwide player in the smartphone market. Consider this: when Samsung entered into the agreement in 2011, it shipped 82 million Android smartphones. Just three years later, it shipped 314 million Android smartphones. [Source: IDC, WW Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker – 2014 Q1, Published: May 2014] Samsung predicted it would be successful, but no one imagined their Android smartphone sales would increase this much.”

Of course, this is just Microsoft’s side of the story; things should get more interesting once Samsung weighs in.

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Tinder Updated For Wearables

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The great news is that you can now cross ‘finding a date’ off the list of tasks you wished you could complete from the comfort and convenience of your wrist. Tinder has released an update that optimizes their addictive dating app for use on wearable devices –so you can now find the next love of your life (anonymously) from nearly any device you choose.

With Tinder loaded up on your wearable device, picture after picture will be displayed as you green-light or red-light each one –tapping to read brief bios for each potential choice. Initial feedback indicates that the app works well, if not a little slow.

Wearable apps are the new pink these days, with development houses big and small rushing to be the first-to-market with their ideas. This effort was stifled by Google up until this week (when a workaround was released) for paid wearable apps –users could see them in Google Play, but they couldn’t actually install them. No matter for Tinder as it comes with a $0 price-tag, so if you haven’t yet swiped left and right in an effort to find your next perfect match, download Tinder now!

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Samsung has had their own app store for quite some time, but now instead of carrying the “Samsung Apps” label, it is called “Galaxy Apps.” It may seem like a trivial change, but with the company diversifying their product line to include both Tizen and Android devices, a single Samsung app store couldn’t accommodate both.

Rebranding isn’t the only change Samsung has in store (if you will allow the pun), there are also hundreds of new apps that are exclusive to Galaxy mobile devices (arranged into a few categories, including: Best Picks, Top and For Galaxy). Of particular interest is that last ‘For Galaxy’ section that gives easy access to Galaxy Gifts, Galaxy Essentials, Apps for Professionals, and Galaxy Specials (those created by using Samsung SDKs).

Samsung claims they are trying to aid consumers in customizing their mobile devices, but most expectations are that the company is trying to make a play for Google Play market-share.

If you want to take Galaxy Apps for a spin on your Samsung Android device, open up the app store and the interface will ask you to update it (which means you will lose the home button).

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Wearables are among the hottest topics at this year’s Google I/O conference, with apps designed to work with them being some of the most exciting developments. One of the first to emerge is the availability of PayPal on your wrist, letting us check in to pay at participating stores, redeem offers, and receive payment notifications.

PayPal has long been a friend to Android with apps already available for the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Fit devices (not to mention taking advantage of the fingerprint sensor built in to the company’s Galaxy S5to build secure payments into the regular Android app).

Being able to have your wallet handy on your wrist is one of the many benefits of wearable technology. With the phrase: “Ok Google,” you can expect to respond to texts, instant messages, emails (all by voice), and ask questions (like locating the nearest Starbucks). Beyond that, you can reach your fitness goals with step counters and heart-rate monitors, and communicate with your smartphone and all that it can offer.

By being one of the first, PayPal is pioneering the idea of a wearable portal to all of the things you use to manage your daily life.

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