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B&N Has No Plans to Update the Nook Tablet

Earlier this week B&N dropped a couple bombshells. Not only did they unveil a couple pretty, powerful, and competitive tablets, they also showed off some impressive new software features including My Nook (a multi-user setup), Nook Video, Nook Catalogs,  and more.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like any of those new features will be coming to the Nook Tablet, B&N’s current enhanced ereader.

A number of readers have asked me this week whether Nook Video would work on the Nook Tablet. (Some even asked about the Nook Color, but after it was revealed on Wednesday that the NC was being discontinued everyone gave up on that one.)

I’ve been going back and forth with marketing folks this week and they won’t give me any info on when or even if the Nook Tablet will be getting an update. I cannot get a date, a vague time frame, nor even an intention to release an update for the Nook Tablet out of B&N, and that is not a good sign.

Barnes & Noble has made their one huge announcement for the fall, and it didn’t include any info about upgrades for the Nook Tablet. This is actually an important detail, because last fall everyone was quite open about the fact that the Nook Color would soon be getting a firmware update to give it the same features as the then-new Nook Tablet. And yet this time around B&N won’t commit to anything.

While you normally shouldn’t read to much into a non-statement, in this case this non-answer speaks volumes.

B&N might be keeping last year’s tablet around with a price of $180, but they don’t seem to have any interest in supporting it with their new services or in giving it the same features as their newer tablets. For me, that is an excellent reason not to buy it.

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burger flipper September 28, 2012 um 6:41 pm

For me that is also an excellent reason not to buy the new ones.

CountZero October 24, 2012 um 5:52 pm

My wife has an original Nook and both of my kids have the Nook Tablets. Wife just told me last night that it’s time for her to upgrade. However, the single point of B&N NOT keeping their Tablets updated with current OS and features will lead me to buy a Nexus 7 (or Samsung, or some other Android tablet).

Now, I just need to convince her that it’s better than just a Nook.

K H Acton September 28, 2012 um 7:32 pm

Well it doesn’t look like Amazon has any plans to update the original Fire either. I know the memory might an issue but certainly some software updates could at least make it somewhat similar to the 2nd gen $159 Fire. If it’s not updated they’ll be no new Fires in this house.

Nate Hoffelder September 28, 2012 um 7:53 pm

Amazon discontinued the original Kindle Fire. And given that they have recently released an update to the even older Kindle 3, the cases are not parallel.

Tyler September 28, 2012 um 10:08 pm

What update does the Kindle Fire need? It does pretty much everything that the new Kindle does software wise.

Nate Hoffelder September 28, 2012 um 10:11 pm

I don’t think the original KF supports all the Whispersync and X-Ray features – not unless it got an update which I missed.

Tyler September 29, 2012 um 12:18 pm

Big difference between that and not being able to stream your own movie content. They should have an app ready on release day both for the Nook Tablet and the android market. Why would you exclude customers on hopes that they are going to upgrade.

Nate Hoffelder September 29, 2012 um 3:45 pm

No argument here.

The differences between the 2 generations of the Kindle Fire are one of degree, while the older Nook Tablet is missing an entire content category.

cookie September 28, 2012 um 8:44 pm

People who are willing to buy devices with restricted operating systems, shouldn’t whine or care about not being upgraded to a newer version of the OS.

fjtorres September 28, 2012 um 9:01 pm

The issue isn’t the OS, but rather the apps and services layered above it.
With devices locked down to serve solely as gateways to an ecosystem, users can reasonably expect the gateway to keep pace with the ecosystem. Especially when the device is less than a year old and still on sale.

Syn September 28, 2012 um 9:31 pm

Interesting, I know when I talk to people, Amazon customers shop there because they love Amazon, their service and their customer service. When I talk to people about Barnes and Nobles, half of them shop there like they are doing them a favor. They want to keep them in business and act as if Barnes and Noble is some small mom and pop shop.

My advice is don’t do them any favors. They have terrible customer policies, even for things not your fault. (Like a books description being in english with no hint that the book is actually spanish.) You downloaded it, to bad so sad.

Anyway, seems this is a push to make you buy new hardware. I was really hoping they would follow Kobo’s lead and stick the play store on the device.

fjtorres September 29, 2012 um 7:32 am

Indeed, for all their harping on content, B&N actually *acts* a lot like a hardware-only vendor–and like Apple, specifically. (The proprietary connector thing, for one.) Yet even Apple provides *some* level of firmware update support to bring new features to recent devices. Especially ones still on sale.
In this, B&N seems to be channeling… Sony… rather than Apple.

BruceMcF September 30, 2012 um 10:27 am

The best customer service in the world is not going to convince me to build up a collection of Amazon format ebooks.

BruceMcF September 30, 2012 um 10:46 am

It doesn’t seem like a system upgrade is going to be required for NOOK Video on the Nook Tablet v1 … indeed, a system upgrade might not be required for NOOK Video on the Nook Color.

B&N says they are going to have an Android app. If the app runs on an Android Gingerbread (2.3), there’s your Nook Tablet NOOK Video app. If the app runs on an Android FroYo (2.2) tablet limited to SD video, there’s your Nook Color NOOK Video app.

Indeed, that’s how they rolled out Netflix to the Nook Color ~ rather than integrate it into the system build, as they did with the Nook Tablet, it was a download from the Nook app store.

The waffling from the marketers likely indicates that they haven’t made up their mind. The problem is that the Nook Tablet 8G is a 512K RAM device, unlike the original 1G RAM Tablet 16G, so bringing it up to the new system is more challenging. But Amazon placed their budget updated Kindle Fire 1 at $160, and if B&N goes for matching that price point, the most obvious approach is to retire the 16G and place the 8G at that price point. That makes the cleanest feature comparison chart for those price points ~ 512RAM 8G SD display, single user tablet at $160, 1G RAM, 8G HD display, family profile tablet at $200, 16G at $230.

They got burned last year in setting their strategy in advance of Amazon’s, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they decided to postpone decision on the under $200 price point(s) until after Amazon set out their product line. Which would leave the marketing team waffling until the decision is made.

Nate Hoffelder September 30, 2012 um 11:40 am

Except that Nook Video, when seen from the device, would likely be integrated into the rest of the Nook Store. That requires more than just an app. It would require an update to the firmware.

BruceMcF October 4, 2012 um 12:32 pm

Yes to deliver it AS it is provided on the HD would require an upgrade of the NT to Android 4.0 or 4.1.

However, B&N do promise a Nook Video app … which offers an ALTERNATIVE
approach to offering the service on a Nook Tablet.

The fact that it is integrated into the Nook store on the HD does not prevent B&N from offering the service to the Nook Tablet by putting an Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" compatible Android Nook Video app into their own store as a Nook app.

flyingtoastr October 7, 2012 um 6:41 pm

Where’s the reporting on Amazon choosing not to update the original KF any further?

Nate Hoffelder October 7, 2012 um 6:47 pm

Why would you expect them to update a discontinued tablet?

Alex November 15, 2012 um 9:07 pm

Just look at the top phones out there, they continue to offer updates at a frightening pace, and customers keep coming back to them. Barnes and Noble and Amazon are stupid to think they can escape this reality based on their name alone. After a generation or two, people are going to realize that other tablets, while possibly more expensive, offer a better overall value because the products can maintain functionality and service farther into the future.

Lilly May 8, 2013 um 11:42 pm

B&N appears to have phased out the nook tablet now (2013) The new nook HD appears to have full access to the google play store. Instead of dropping another $200+ on an new nook I got an Android SD card off Amazon that lets me run my nook tablet on unlocked Android. I like the nook tablet as a device but I have no patience for B&N’s software nonsense. The tablet should have gotten the software upgrade to what the nook HD has, unlocked android.

kodo June 17, 2013 um 2:42 pm

Ok. Ok. So they dont even hva eplans to make this nook tablet the best thing in the world? Nook tablet is the lighest, fastest, and most unbreakable of all their devices. And so why not pu tin google play to make it the worlds best tablet. Please barnes and noble hear me, the nook tablet will be the best device in the world if you pu tin google play store. More people would like it. I heard so much about people dropping the nook tablet and it doesnt break. Please"!!!!!!!!!!!! Omg nook hd and hd+ have it but not nook tablet. I hate this!!!

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