Barnes and Noble and Samsung are releasing two co-branded tablets this year called Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK. This is the first time the Nation’s largest bookseller is outsourcing the hardware design and focusing exclusively on the software. According to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing 8-K report B&N will purchase 1 million tablets over the course of the first 12 months of the deal. This will include black and white versions of a 7-inch model, and 60 days after that will be black and white models of a 10-inch tablet.
Samsung intends on spending an “undisclosed” amount of money on advertising the new tablets. This benefits Barnes and Nobles marketing budget, because Samsung will hype it in the critical US and UK markets.
Going the Samsung route is a double edged sword for Barnes and Noble. Their current generation 7 inch tablet has a resolution of 1440×900 pixels, while the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK will only have 1280 x 800. This is notable because magazines, newspapers and kids books won’t look as crisp as they do on the Nook HD. One bright spot is the overall processing power that will be upgraded to a quad-core chip, instead of the existing duel-core.
So why did Barnes and Noble go with Samsung instead of Microsoft, which gave the company 300 million dollars a few years ago? Well, Samsung was able to lure them in with a custom white label solution. There will be no Samsung bloatware on the tablet and B&N is responsible for their heavily customized UI and library of pre-installed apps. This tablet is an e-reader first, and will have an entirely new interface and experience that will be quite different from anything that Nook has done in the past. Customers will also be able to access Google Play to download all of their apps.
The new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will have an official release date around August, and its likely that either in September or October existing B&N bookstores will be stocking them.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.