Barnes & Noble to Launch 2 New NookColors This Year

I was handed some juicy insider info the other day and oh my, is it a surprise.

Barnes & Noble is rumored to be releasing a replacement NookColor some time in October. All the unsubstantiated rumors had come out of Asia, so I wasn't sure that I  should take them seriously. I did, but that was only because B&N have been clearing out the refurbished units at a decent discount. And until today the unsubstantiated rumors were all I had.

According to my source, Barnes & Noble held a planning meeting last week. One of the topics discussed in the meeting was B&N's marketing plans for their ebook readers and how they would be promoted next quarter.

 

I have, in my hot little hands, a slide that may have been used in that planning  meeting. It mentions that B&N will have 3 ebook readers next quarter, not 2. According to the slide, the NookColor will be getting a brother tablet. Now, I've been asked not to post the slide, unfortunately; it might be possible to trace it back to my source. Here's what it says:

  • Nook EPD
  • Smart Touch $139
  • Nook Color
  • Encore $249
  • Acclaim $349

There's also a notation that it has been approved by WL/JI, and I believe those are the initials of William Lynch (CEO of B&N) and James Iannone (head of B&N Digital Products). (Before I go further, let me confirm that Encore and Smart Touch are valid product names for the current 6" Nook Touch and 7" NookColor.) That part is legit.

All I have right now are the names and prices of the tablets, but that alone tells me several details. First and foremost, B&N will keep the NookTouch at $139, and they will have the 2 NookColors at higher price points. The Encore and Acclaim tablets will be priced at  $249 and $349.

The Acclaim name is new.

Given that B&N kept the name Encore, it seems likely that the Encore tablet will keep the 7" screen from the current model. I would also guess that the new tablet will be a hardware upgrade from the current one - that's why the price is the same.

On the other hand, the Acclaim tablet could be anything. And that makes it so much more fun - I can speculate to my heart's content. Here's my idea.

I think the Acclaim name was chosen becuase of the connotations. It's the name of a defunct gaming company, so just saying the name in certain circles will be enough to identify the tablet as a gaming device.

Now, the trademark for that name is owned by Playdom (a Disney sub). We already know that the current NookColor has apps from Disney, so clearly they have a working relationship with B&N and that tells us that Disney would be in a position to know about the new NookColor. This would suggest that Disney already know about the name and they are okay with it.

Aside from the name connection, there's little to suggest that this is a gaming device. But I think it is, and that would mean that the Acclaim tablet is the Android tablet that GameStop are currently beta-testing. No one knows any details yet about the Gamestop tablet, aside from the fact it's based on the hardware of an existing tablet. But ever since a reader pointed out the relationship between B&N and Gamestop, I have believed that they were using the hardware.

Gamestop have a connection to B&N. Disney have a connection to B&N. Wouldn't it make a lot of sense for the NookColor Acclaim to be sold by both retailers and use content from Disney (and other developers, of course)? The 2 retailers could share the ecosystem and the development cost while using the tablet for non-competing purposes. The guy who tipped me to the idea that B&N and Gamestop might share a tablet is expecting them to do just that.

Of course, all I have are the names and prices, so this could be completely off the wall.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

49 Comments

  1. john23 September, 2011

    investigative journalism at its best! even better conclusions drawn also. good job!

    Reply
  2. […] ninjas at The Digital Reader have uncovered the names of two new Nook Color versions – the Encore, priced at $249, and the […]

    Reply
  3. Void23 September, 2011

    I’m happy to see something happening. Not much has been going on in e-book space since the Sony announcement, and that wasn’t even an actual release.

    Reply
  4. […] che sembra GameStop voglia commercializzare entro fine anno.Sono indiscrezioni e conclusioni di the-digital-reader.com che potrebbero essere valide come assolutamente fantasiose, ma che comunque – ancora – […]

    Reply
  5. ePub23 September, 2011

    It was time, I guess. $349? I just wonder what we’ll get for the price? Retina display?

    Reply
  6. […] at The Digital Reader received a tip that the company plans to launch a new $349 device next quarter. It will have the code-name […]

    Reply
  7. […] Nook line of e-readers as part of their fourth quarter plans, according to documents obtained by The Digital Reader.A slide leaked to the site lists three ereaders as part of B&N’s Q4 plans, including the […]

    Reply
  8. HTCFlyerReader23 September, 2011

    Bet they announce it on September 27 or 29!

    Reply
  9. Mike Cane23 September, 2011

    A gaming tablet would paradoxically fit in with the current B&N strategy of selling board games and shit like that.

    Reply
  10. RK23 September, 2011

    many thanks for the scoop and for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply
  11. Ebook News Digest - September 23rd, 2011 | Ebook Friendly24 September, 2011

    […] Barnes & Noble to Launch 2 New NookColors This Year – The Digital Reader I was handed some juicy insider info the other day and oh my, is it a surprise. Barnes & Noble are rumored to be releasing a replacement NookColor some time in October. All the unsubstantiated rumors had come out of Asia, so I wasn’t sure… […]

    Reply
  12. steve24 September, 2011

    Barnes & Noble does NOT call the $139 Nook “Smart Touch” You don’t have your facts straight at all.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder24 September, 2011

      Yes, they do use that term (internally). They even have the trademark for it (via their holding company Fission LLC). Go look it up if you don’t beleive me: http://www.uspto.gov .

      Google the phrase and you will see it pop up here and there.

      Reply
    2. abhi24 September, 2011

      Steve,
      B&N do in fact call the new touch eReader both Simple Touch and Smart Touch. So Nate’s right on that one.

      Nate,
      Great Scoop. This makes a lot of sense. Let me add that my analysis of the Nook App Store and all the signs suggest the exact same thing you’ve suggested i.e. Tablet refresh and a 2nd Tablet.

      Reply
  13. Logan Kennelly24 September, 2011

    I think, Nate, you leaped a little far in your conclusions. One of the “new” Nook Color models is the Encore, the name of the existing device. When have you heard of a company using the same code name for a new product? At most, they may cost-reduce the Nook Color (which may mean better battery life), but, to me, it is odd to come out with a Nook Color 2 and not start up a new project for it.

    So that leaves the Acclaim, and I bet for the extra $100 and extra year of development it will be fairly impressive. I don’t discount the rumors that it will be a gaming tablet (possibly in association with Gamestop), but the Acclaim/Disney link is far-fetched. The trademark is unimportant (since it is merely a code-name, like “butt-headed astronomer”), and the fact that Disney published through B&N is not indicative of close working relationship.

    I feel bad for posting so many negative comments (and I rarely post positive “me too” posts), so I’ll close by saying great work in being tenacious enough for people to leak documents to you. And thanks for sharing that information with us. You’ve certainly whetted my appetite. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder24 September, 2011

      A lot of people are suggesting that B&N will not replacing the Encore, but there is one detail that makes me doubt that assertion. B&N have been clearing out the refurbished models. Why would they do that if they are not replacing that model with a new one?

      But you do raise a valid point about the model name. On the other hand, that model is now outdated and rather overpriced (compared to other Android tablets). Shouldn’t it get a price cut, at least?

      And yes, Disney/Gamestop is a stretch.

      Reply
      1. cabbiebot25 September, 2011

        The thing that should never get lost is that Encore is a device subsidized by the customers future purchases. Refurbished models in possession of B&N, beyond what might be reasonably expected for purpose of the warranty and protection plan, are deadweight that hurt the quarterly numbers. The firesale from Borders has negatively impacted B&N and they’ve even suspended their dividend to keep cash. Hardware sitting in a warehouse that isn’t being used to purchase digital content is not generating that much needed up-front cash.

        The Gamestop/Disney conjecture is wonky. I suggest taking a closer look at what Barnes & Noble calls “NOOKStudy”. It’s even trademarked!

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder25 September, 2011

          How do you know that it is subsidized? There are any number of tablets now that are cheaper and have similar specs?

          Reply
  14. bz25 September, 2011

    I’m so excited. Can’t wait to get my hand on the Acclaim.

    Reply
  15. […] Digital Reader, la fuente de la información, señala que también podrían lanzar un Nook bajo el nombre Encore, pero a la vez suponen que es una versión actualizada del Nook Color de 7 pulgadas. Sumado a esto, el rumor sobre el lanzamiento de la tablet Amazon, podría reforzar esta posibilidad de que veamos al menos un nuevo Nook. « Samsung ya vendió 10 millones de ··· /* […]

    Reply
  16. haruhi25 September, 2011

    I agree, Encore is the current Nook Color.

    Reply
  17. […] and has been working on an upgrade to the Nook Color too. Apparently, according to a report by The Digital Reader, it plans to launch two new devices this year: 1. An upgrade to the Nook Color priced at $249 […]

    Reply
  18. New Nook E-Book Readers Leaked | Gadget News and Reviews - gadget.com26 September, 2011

    […] The Digital Reader, via TechCrunch   // No Comments […]

    Reply
  19. PlusGadget Update26 September, 2011

    […] its interesting to note that according to The Digital Readers  blog, BN will be releasing two new tablets this year.So three new Nooks are supposedly on the […]

    Reply
  20. […] This comes as Amazon is likely to put out a tablet computer. This has been rumored to happen for a while, and Amazon just announced a press conference next week, where we expect to see this release. Via The Digital Reader. […]

    Reply
  21. […] Color 2 is code-named Encore and Acclaim (there are supposedly two models – thanks to Nate at The Digital Reader for the scoop). The lower end model with be $249 and the higher end model will be […]

    Reply
  22. […] Nate the Great’s B&N has 2 Tablets sources are correct, then B&N is showing more ambition than Amazon and will have […]

    Reply
  23. juan28 September, 2011

    duh….just realized; $350 Acclaim B&N tablet will be 10″ screen. that’s my prediction and i’m stickin’ to it….

    Reply
  24. Is Amazon's tablet really the 'Kindle Fire'? | ZDNet28 September, 2011

    […] for this holiday season to compete with the popular Barnes & Noble Nook Color, which is also rumored to be introducing two updated Nook Colors this […]

    Reply
  25. Ahmed30 September, 2011

    I was going for a Nook Touch based on the hardware buttons and android rooting, but first I had to wait to see what amazon will come up with, then I decided to go ahead with nook touch, then I saw this, and I have to wait more to see If the Nook touch will get a refresh, tiresome waiting. Any estimated time, or any more data on the Nook smart touch?

    Reply
  26. […] this now or wait to see what B&N announce next month? It’s pretty clear to everyone that B&N are about to release a replacement. Not much is known about the NookColor Acclaim, but based on my sources it will be a major hardware […]

    Reply
  27. melajara14 October, 2011

    All the mobile devices market (smartphones, eReaders, tablets) is now hampered by several delays

    -The much anticipated el Kad NVIDIA 4 cores (actually 5) platform should have been available since August, actually it will be out just for Christmas.

    -The eInk Triton color display for eReaders is not yet available in large quantity. In the mean time, it seems that its resolution dropped too.

    -On the Amoled front Samsung and LG are in trouble to ramp up production of their “Retina” displays.

    This is why the current crop of new products are not groundbreaking (including the iPhone 4s).

    Reply
  28. Kare15 October, 2011

    Ya. I have to get

    Reply
  29. […] notice that Kobo also beat the ship date for the Kindle Fire and the (it’s coming eventually) Nook Color Acclaim? Good for […]

    Reply

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