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B&N Releases Nook Tablet To Rival Amazon Fire 183

jfruhlinger writes "It looks like there's competition in the low-cost media tablet space — and that Barnes & Noble is determined not to go the way of Borders. Barnes & Noble today announced the Nook Tablet, an Android-based tablet with better specs than the Kindle Fire (though it's also $50 pricier). The Nook Tablet will allow Hulu and Netflix streaming and sideloading of content, but won't have access to the general-purpose Android App Store."
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B&N Releases Nook Tablet To Rival Amazon Fire

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  • It will be able to access the Amazon App Store
    • A buddy of mine is considering one, so can you provide a citation that it will allow the amazon app store?

      • If you can turn on "Unknown sources" and install APKs, you can probably install the APKs for Amazon,, and SlideMe. I have no citation for certain, but it's far more likely than not.
        • The original NC didn't let you turn that on in stock, so I don't think it's a likely assumption that this one will. I guess it's just a question of whether they locked it down more than they did the NC.

          • From the summary:

            The Nook Tablet will allow Hulu and Netflix streaming and sideloading of content

            That what your looking for?

            • Not sure. It depends on what they mean by "content." If they mean apps, then great, but they might just mean putting ebooks, etc. on it without going through the Nook store (with calibre, e.g.).

              • The nook color mounts as a usb drive. And content can be added by just copying files over. However you can purchade directly from barnes and and have it downloaded automatically as well.

                It also has a microsd slot allowing you acess content from that as well. My only complaints are the stock browser and email clients suck.

                • Right, that's sideloading "content" where "content" is ebooks, images, videos, etc... which is different from sideloading apps.

          • It also wasn't marketed as a tablet. It is an e-reader that you can hack into a tablet. The NT is a tablet, and will act like a tablet.
  • I have a nook color, with CM7. I have the google market, amazon market, both nook and kindle app and netflix. I am sure if I cared I could have hulu premium as well.

    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7.cornell@edu> on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:16PM (#37975718) Homepage

      Um, comparing a third-party firmware for the original Nook with the stock features of this new one isn't valid.

      The better question is - Assuming that they don't lock the bootloader this time around, what will this new device be like with CM9?

      If I didn't already have a Tab 10.1, I'd go for this... If the flexibility of this device is even close to that of its predecessor, it's going to be a beast with CM9. (It may get CM7 in the interim, but that's probably only going to be short-term.)

      • Um, comparing a third-party firmware for the original Nook with the stock features of this new one isn't valid.

        In the case of an Android-compatible tablet, it is valid. I want one of the new tablets. I don't want it for the sake of the OEM build. I want it for the sake of alternate Android builds, and if I can just so happen to access the Amazon store and content (such as Prime, books, etc.) then so much the better. What I really want to be honest, is an iPad + a flash player, but an Android tablet would be

    • Or try comparing a Nook Color w/ CM7 to a Nook Tablet w/ CM7 if you don't want to troll... How nice would that be on a machine with twice the processor, RAM and Flash internally, and potentially a better screen?

      Not saying I'm going out right away to replace my Nook Color (w/ the NookieComb ROM), but if you want to make a fair comparo give the CyanogenMod guys some time to spin a version for the new Nook Tablet. It won't take long at all and I suspect it's going to make a few of us want to upgrade our har
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:09PM (#37975644) Homepage Journal

    ... the already-exisitng, easily-hackable previous Nook Color is now $50 less--just US$199. [] Nice! Very tempted...

    • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:16PM (#37975726) Journal

      And unlike the Kindle Fire, the Nook Color has an SD card slot.

      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:57PM (#37976214)
        On top of that, the Nook Color is programmed to try to boot off the microSD card first. So "hacking" it is just writing a CM7 boot image to a microSD card, putting it in, and restarting the tablet. If you ever want to go back to the original Nook Color experience, just reboot it without the card.

        Any word on if the new Nook Tablet has the same feature?
      • Unlike the Nook Color, the Kindle Fire is part of a successful ecosystem. ;) In all seriousness, I wonder how much Amazon Prime and the rest of the ecosystem, such as book lending, will impact this.

        If the Kindle Fire turns out to be a Fire Hose, then there's no comparison.

        • I'm not so concerned with who sells more units, than the very specific unit I might buy for myself. The Fire isn't interesting *to me* for many of the same arguments made in TFA. The most important being, you aren't always connected to the cloud. You need enough local resources to get your work done (whatever that is) without signal.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      With CM7 it makes a really great tablet. I use mine all the time. You can install the Nook app, so you really lose nothing at all. Netflix works great on it.

      • I didn't like the stock reader, nor the Nook app. I guess if I bought my books from BN, it would still be nice, but since most of my stuff comes from places like Project Gutenberg, Baen, etc... I found that I like FBReader much better (need a separate reader for PDFs though, but the stock/Nook app sucks for those, too)

      • ... is that using the touch screen is difficult at the very edge of the screen. This is really only a problem with some applications that put buttons in the corners, like Tweetcaster. Also, the Nook reader is very hard to use unless you pump up the dpi to make the graphical elements larger.

        But that kind of stuff is pretty trivial.

        Also, a dual-core 7" tablet for $200 is pretty sweet, especially if it's as hackable as the original.

        • I thought that was just me and my fat fingers. Glad to know I'm not alone (And I do love CM7.1 now that they've mostly addressed the battery issues). Mind cluing me in to where/how to pump up the dpi like you mentioned?

        • Also, a dual-core 7" tablet for $200 is pretty sweet

          A few years ago, that was true. Today, Android tablets are as cheap, or cheaper. The Lenovo Ideapad A1 costs $199 at Amazon. The Vizio 8" costs $189 at Costco. And BF is coming up.

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        Not quite - if you install the standard Nook app, you lose "More in Store" and "Read in Store" - I assume the stock Color had these. (My eInk Nook does.)

      • Not only that, you can install CM7 to boot directly off the SD card, so if you wanted to go back to the stock firmware it is just a simple matter of booting without the SD installed. If you go this route, make sure to use a Sandisk SD card though (even the class 2 Sandisk is faster than the class 10 of most other brands for this use case, since the other cards are only fast at very large block transfers).

  • Incidentally (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bonch ( 38532 )

    It should be noted that Apple is publicly happy about the Amazon Fire and its rivals [] because it further contributes to Android fragmentation.

    • ...showing that despite early successes, Apple doesn't really understand the market.

      • err. no. They do.

        Aside from the whole steve jobs breathing fire over Android's UI... Their entire approach wasn't to steal market share or to be #1. They're entire objective was to make something they liked and make a profit off of it.

        Given that their profit figures are up quarter after quarter, year after year, and LG is asking for investor support to shore up their smartphone division, i'm more inclined to believe that everyone else has no idea how the market works.

    • Or- more likely apple are trying to put a spin on their dwindling market share to try and win consumers back by trying to pretend to the consumer that they're not the only one-off operating system.

      • apple are trying to put a spin on their dwindling market share

        Dwindling? Really?

        • by Threni ( 635302 )

          Citation available all over the internet.

        • Re:Incidentally (Score:4, Informative)

          by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:14PM (#37976378) Homepage Journal

          Really. [] 44.8% Android to 27.4% iPhone is already dwindled, but when the huge hype of the iPhone 4S release produces only a 0.1% increase in market share, the months after initial release will doubtless show further dwindle.

          The much smaller market segment that is tablets also shrank [], from 75% to 67% iPad, while Android's share grew to 27%. The iPad lead is dwindling, and by the time tablets are as substantial a market segment as are smartphones, the iPad share's further shrinkage in the minority will contribute to the overall dwindling of Apple's share.

          Apple is a great innovator, and a terrific survivor. But the company has never been much of a sustainer of market share. The diversity of large markets works against the total platform control that Apple always builds its products on, even as it helps Apple's kind of mass market but quality innovations and its tenacious survival. The middle phase is where most of the money is, and Microsoft and now Google (and its partners, the further development of the Microsoft corollary) come to dominate most of the time by owning it through relative openness.

          • by afidel ( 530433 )
            All I have to say is $85B in cash and liquid assets, that's almost 1/3rd of Microsofts entire market cap. I wouldn't count a company with the kind of innovation of Apple and that kind of war chest out of anything anytime soon. If they wanted to win the tablet segment all they would need to do is price a basic ipad at $250-300 and everything else would sell essentially zero units. There's even some indication that they are willing to do that with the recent downward pricing of the old iphone models, though t
    • But Amazon and B&N are the ones making the devices. They aren't releasing their customized Android for all LCD tablets and creating a compatibility issue that you might see in cell phones.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Windows fragmentation (how many different brands of computers come with Windows?) hasn't hurt its desktop business. AND there are not only several flavors of Windows (starter, home, professional) and different versions (98, XP, 7, and even a few copies of Vista) of the OS.

      As a consumer, I welcome fragmentation. Having the choice of many different Linux distros is a plus, not a negative.

      And BTW, why are they using Android rather than a standard Linux distro? The touch screen?

      • I'm really getting tired of all the whining about fragmentation. You're absolutely right -- on the desktop market, fragmentation has actually been a good thing. But on desktop computers we call it "competition" and "diversity" and "choice."

        From a consumer's point of view, there's absolutely nothing to lose from this fragmentation. Look at the alternative: completely different, incompatible operating systems from each manufacturer. The differences in android version and hardware capabilities are nothing

        • Desktop fragmentation hasn't been as bad as Android's fragmentation issue.

          Namely, you couldn't bake your own version of Windows that could totally break an app(Aside from bizarre driver bugs or incompatible baked in software; you couldn't fuck with the kernel) or ship Windows 95 when Windows 7 was just shoved out the door.

          Second, desktop fragmentation is a huge problem for gamers. Driver conflicts, hardware incompatibility, instability due to crappy specs(ACPI? Really intel?)...

          Hell, I wonder how many cra

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:17PM (#37975756) Journal

    Without access to the Android app store, it's not much different than the higher end Chinese clones.

    • Unlike the "higher end Chinese clones" the kernel sources will probably be available.

      • ...and so really smart geeks will figure out how to root the device and install "real" Android on it. But my wife will not be one of them. Why don't they just the hell put a full distribution of Android, with the market, on it in the first damned place?

        • and so really smart geeks will figure out how to root the device and install "real" Android on it.

          Yet this virtually never happens. Either the old kernel gets reused, or the kernel holds the device back and newer versions of Android never get ported back. Lack of kernel sources inhibits "real" android as much as it inhibits other OSes.

        • >full distribution of Android, with the market, on it in the first damned place?
          Google charges for that, and keeps some design control on specifications for those who they allow. I am sure B&N would have been required to put GPS and a microphone into the device as well, to be allowed a full google license. The payoff for licensing android from google is full access to navigation, and voice IMHO but then you need mobile internet... All of that now pushes them into the IPAD cost. For those that wan

        • by Scyber ( 539694 )
          B/c its likely that B&N and Amazon are selling the hardware for very low margins. The anticipated revenue from the App store and book/media sales is what allows them to do this.
        • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

          It's not an Android tablet. It's a Nook Tablet. It may be built on Android, but they are not associating themselves with Android. Just like the Amazon with the Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble is taking control of the platform.

          You might as well ask why you can't get a package manager on your TiVo.

    • They have sold 3 million of the original which basically makes it second to the iPad in tablet sales. If B&N has the most popular apps ported over they will have a hit. There is no need to have every android app available as most people won't care about it, they just want their LOL Cats and Angry Birds.

    • Or better yet, get a real Android tablet like Vizio 8" or the Lenovo Ideapad A1.

  • Someone gets it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:21PM (#37975800) Journal

    From TFA:

    > [the kindle fire]'s 8G bytes of storage is not enough to hold media for those situations where the user is not connected to the Internet. "You're not always going to be connected to the cloud," he said.

    All together now: Bingo!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Although, from TFA: "The Kindle Fire's 512MB of RAM does not provide enough room to play a game app while reading a magazine or running another app, he said. Its 8G bytes of storage is not enough to hold media for those situations where the user is not connected to the Internet."

      Excuse me, what?! The iPad (which I have and use daily) has 256MB RAM ( []); the iPad 2 has 512MB RAM ( []). Both of those devic

      • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

        Both iOS and Android have APIs to help developers trick you into thinking that you're multitasking. They save the state of the app and reload that state when you switch back to it. It's a trick from the old Palm days, and possibly earlier.

        And for a huge number of applications, it makes sense. You don't need your magazine app to actually be running while you're playing a game, as long as it gets you back to the page you were on when you switched away.

        That said, the same applies for the Nook Tablet, so B&

  • I still prefer kobo and wait eagerly for the next release.

  • by SocietyoftheFist ( 316444 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:37PM (#37976008)

    I'm running CM 7.1 on it and am very happy with it. I have it overclocked to 1.2Ghz and I can run both the Nook and Kindle Android apps on it. I've been playing a lot of Madden 12 on it though and I need to set the graphics to medium or low though for decent performance. I think that B&N will do well if they have most of the popular apps available for it with the speed bump and dual core processor. Having the Hulu and Netflix apps is huge and the ability to have 48 gigs of storage is nice. I rip my DVDs using Handbrake and they run just playback just fine on the screen. I prefer the 7" screen to the 10 inch screen on the iPad and most tablets.

  • I am however disappointed in Nook's advertising. They need to step it up a notch, so that people are talking about the Nook not the Kindle.

    At the very least, the new tablet will help that.

    But honestly, I think the thing they need the most is to open up it's software. Access to the Android App Market would help. But I think the best idea would be to sell it with a Linux OS, and a web browser (firefox/chrome/ whatever) that includes an app for Barnes & Nobles store.

  • Color E-ink (Score:4, Insightful)

    by daenris ( 892027 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:50PM (#37976148)
    Yay, a slight revision of the Nook Color... meh. Won't someone just release a color E-ink tablet already.
  • The tablet wars on going to won on infrastructure and free stuff. The iPad has apps and the ITMS. Both provide lots of great free content, and stuff you can buy. It allows deep integration between devices, now for free. Amazon has, well Amazon, where free stuff can be had. If you join Amazon prime more stuff can be had at no additional price. Music is integrated through their sites, and lots of stuff can be streamed.People are going to buy the iPad and Kindle because of available free or cheap conten
    • Android's source of free content is the entire Internet. And also specifically YouTube. This is the Google way: increase access among the many Internet users, help them find their content (free and otherwise), and promote some stuff along with it as paid ads. YouTube content might mostly suck, but broadcast TV is mostly worse (and the ad model is much worse), and cable/satellite TV content people pay $50+ for each month is even worse than that. There's so much more YouTube and general Internet content than

  • B&N is coming to the "media" tablet party a bit late. They should have found a way to trim $50 off the tablet to directly compete with the Fire. By not doing so, they won't be converting too many of the faithful kindle crowd.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:58PM (#37976222) Homepage Journal

    Won't this tablet also be just a terminal for all content served by the BN servers, even if they pass through other content, as Amazon's Kindle Fire is? So all content is mediated by BN.

    That's like buying a TV from CBS, to which CBS can send whatever "necessary" modifications to content from other TV networks. Yeah, it's like getting a cellphone locked into a single mobile carrier through which all calls are funneled. But look at how that's working out with cablemodems when the company is Comcast (and plenty of others): competing services, like downloaded movies or VOIP, get substandard service or worse. And any company can go the Comcast route any day it chooses.

    • IMO: If you want eInk, get an eReader, otherwise get a real Android tablet, instead of trying to convert an LED eReader to an Android tablet, or use an Android phone.


      1) Android tablets are as cheap, or cheaper. The Lenovo Ideapad A1 costs $199 at Amazon. The Vizio 8" costs $189 at Costco. And BF is coming up.
      2) Android tablets have way more features, like cameras, and GPS, and external micor-SD slots.
      3) Don't have to fuss with hacking, or worry about "bricking," or worry about voiding warranties.

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:05PM (#37976302)
    $50 in this price range is a huge difference. Think video cards for comparison. These are really 2 different products at 2 different price points. We'll see what buyers want.
  • I bought a Nook Color last Christmas and have been pretty disappointed. The eBook prices are ridiculously high. They are often higher than the physical book in the store or Amazon. They also seem to be consistently higher than Amazon's prices for the same eBook (which are also too high). The reader's behavior doesn't really seem to match up to the specs. It feels pretty slow, and the screen response is extremely poor. Many of the applications that come with (such as crosswords) are not functional because t
    • The reader's behavior doesn't really seem to match up to the specs. It feels pretty slow, and the screen response is extremely poor. Many of the applications that come with (such as crosswords) are not functional because the touchscreen response is inaccurate. Battery life is pretty good when you're using it, but if it's set aside for a couple of weeks and not used, the battery will drain in the meantime.

      Welcome to Android.

    • FWIW: It is easy to convert your nook color to a standard Android tablet. Just get a micro-SD chip, and install CM7. You don't even have to touch the original software - the CM7 gets installed to the micro-SD.

      BTW: I found the Color Nook's browser performance to be awful, with, or without, CM7.

      As to battery life: it is an LED device after all. Any such device will drain batteries much faster than an eInk device. Just basic physics.

  • I've been pretty happy with the Nook Color. I mostly use it with free or sideloaded ebooks. Paid ebooks are way too expensive considering there's no dead wood, shipping or many other costs as regular books have. I went with the Color over an e-ink reader so that I can use it for light email/web usage while on the road. I dual-boot Honeycomb from a microSD card for apps not available through B&N's limited app store (which is most of them). If The Nook Tablet is as easy to dual-boot as the NC, I migh

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