Barnes & Noble has long been promising to launch a new tablet in partnership with a major device maker, and today that promise came true. The bookseller has just announced that they will be partnering with Samsung to produce a new Nook-branded Galaxy Tab 4 tablet.
The new tablet will be released later this year (in early August) and feature the Nook software and access to more than 3 million books, magazines and newspapers.
The tablet will be displayed along with the Nook Glowlight and sold at Barnes & Noble’s 663 bookstores across the U.S. and online. Barnes & Noble, which is facing mounting losses in both hardware sales and ebooks, has also said that they will continue to offer the Nook GlowLight, which launched last Fall.
B&N hasn’t released specific details on the specs of the Nook-branded Galaxy Tab 4, but based on the specs posted by Samsung I would say Nook is aiming for a lower market tier. The last Nook devices, the Nook HD and HD+, were premium quality enhanced ereaders when they launched in late 2012. They had screens and CPUs comparable to the best mid-level and premium tablets – for 2012.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, on the other hand, is more of a budget tablet. It runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat on a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon CPU with 1.5GB RAM, Wifi, and Bluetooth. It has a 1.2MP front-facing camera and a 3MP rear camera. Screen resolution is 1280 x 800. The Galaxy Tab 4 retails for $199, or about $80 more than comparable tablets that don’t carry a Samsung brand.
This deal is Samsung’s second major ebook partnership in only 4 months; in April Samsung partnered with Amazon to release a Kindle for Samsung app. A short time later Samsung retired their ebook app in favor of the Kindle app.
The partnership with Samsung is very much the type of deal that many pundits expected when Microsoft and Barnes & Noble announced the launch of Nook Media more than two years ago. Between the initial payment and performance terms built into the contract, Microsoft has invested upwards of $600 million in Nook Media. In exchange they got B&N’s help with a Microsoft reading app which is expected to launch this year, and 30 localized Nook Stores in Europe and Australia. B&N has also announced that they will be retiring the Nook app for Windows 8 in favor of Microsoft’s not-yet-launched reading app.
In related news, over the past year B&N has trimmed Nook staff, and on Thursday the company announced that Nook Media will relocate from their existing Palo Alto offices as another cost-cutting measure. Moving to offices in new technology campuses in Santa Clara and Mountain View, California are expected to save the company about $10 million in annual occupancy expenses, reducing its future lease commitments by about $102 million, the company said.