Last month I brought you the news that Barnes & Noble's $50 Nook Android tablet came with bonus malware which harvested personal info and sent it to China. At the time, the company claimed to have already fixed the issue and that a future update would completely remove the software.
Now, less than 2 months after it was launched, the $50 Nook Android tablet has been pulled from store shelves and is no longer available on the b&N website.
According to a leaked screenshot, the tablets are being shipped to on Reddit by an alleged B&N store employee who wrote that:, the B&N director of distribution. The recall was leaked
early this week we received a project to remove every device from stores. It was very important that they be shipped out quickly, demo devices and all. There was no explanation given and so far this week the signs are still up in the windows, but there has been radio silence and no further instruction other than get them boxed, get tracking numbers, and ship them out. There's no script for customers, and no recall I can find publicly.
I am waiting for B&N to issue a statement, but I have confirmed that the tablet is not available on the website, and that it has been removed from my local B&N store.
We don't yet know why that happened, but the original source has speculated that B&N pulled the hardware when they realized that they could not remove the ADDUPS malware with software updates, or that they could not guarantee that everyone will get the update.
That is speculation of course, but even if malware is not the issue, B&N has still pulled the hardware in a quiet but mad rush. That suggests there is something wrong with the $50 Nook tablet, which is why owners should definitely return their tablet forthwith.
Fortunately, B&N's holiday return policy extends until 31 January, so all of the $50 Nook Android tablets can be returned.
Update: B&N has responded, and their statement might actually be a worse scenario than a malware problem.
Barnes & Noble is investigating three reported cases involving the adapter sold with the NOOK Tablet® 7”. The specific issue involves the adapter casing breaking apart while still in the socket. This does not affect the NOOK® device itself. With no injuries reported and out of an abundance of caution, we recommend that customers stop using the adapter until we provide a replacement adapter. In the meantime, the NOOK Tablet 7” can be charged using a computer. We will be providing more information as we work closely with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to determine the details of a public product recall.
First: One doesn't yank all store stock for this type of issue - not without also telling store staff what they should say to customers.
The thing is, the original source said that B&N corp did not explain why the tablets were recalled. The staff were not given any instruction on what to do if a customer brought in a broken charger or a melted tablet but were instead left as confused as the rest of us.
But that is a side issue; the more important issue here is how completely B&N has bungled their new tablet. Not only did it ship with malware, but it also shipped with a defective charger.
Barnes & Noble tried to put a minimum amount of effort into their new tablet, and it has come back to bite them on their stingy ass.