Jun 172012

MicrosoftMicrosoft has shed little light on its scheduled event on June 18th. Rumours have been suggesting that it will unveil a Microsoft-branded Windows RT tablet (like Google does with its Nexus smartphones). According to TechCrunch sources, they are “somewhat right but mostly wrong.”

TechCrunch has learned that the announcement will be made with Barnes & Noble and will focus instead on a “tablet/e-reader” that will focus on entertainment. The two companies announced a “strategic partnership” in late April with Microsoft investing US$300 million investment for a 17.6% equity stake in a new company at the time called Newco. Monday’s event will apparently reveal what the two companies have been working on.

Little is known about this new tablet aside from the fact that it could be the first to come with Xbox Live streaming capabilities. It remains to be seen if it will be powered by Windows RT.

Microsoft’s event is scheduled for 18:30 ET (15:30 PT). All should be revealed then.

Read more: TechCrunch

May 012012

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft yesterday announced a new partnership in the e-reading space that will see the Nook and Barnes & Noble’s college textbook business spun off into a new subsidiary called Newco (until they come up with a new name). In an interview with Fortune, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch shed a bit more light on what the future holds for the Nook.

One new feature coming to future Nook devices will be an embedded NFC chip. Barnes & Noble will also work with publishers to have them embed NFC chips in books. “And if you had your Nook, you can walk up to any of our pictures, any our aisles, any of our bestseller lists, and just touch the book, and get information on that physical book on your Nook and have some frictionless purchase experience,” explains Lynch.

Asked whether an NFC-equipped Nook would be out this year, Lynch would only say, “Maybe.”

Read more: Fortune

Apr 302012

MicrosoftMicrosoft and Barnes & Noble today annnounced a new partnership in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary focused on e-reading technologies. The new subsidiary, called Newco until a final name is found, will consist of the Nook unit as well as Barnes & Noble’s college textbook business. Microsoft will make a US$300 million investment in Newco for a 17.6% equity stake.

“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. “Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re at the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

As part of the new partnership, the two companies also announced that they have settled their patent litigation. Barnes & Noble and Newco will now have a “royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products.” The litigation had been tied to Barnes & Noble’s use of Android on its Nook tablet.

Microsoft will bundle the Nook digital bookstore with Windows 8 when it launches later this year. The move will significantly broaden its exposure both in the U.S. and globally.

Read more: Microsoft

Apr 132012

NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLightBarnes & Noble yesterday unveiled its latest e-reader, the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight. Glowlight is a lighting technology that solves one of e-readers biggest challenges – reading in the dark. 8 embedded LEDs provide illuminate the 6-inch touchscreen with a “soft, adjustable glow” and allows people to read in low light or dark conditions. It turns on automatically and is completely adjustable.

“To date, readers have had to compromise: either buying black-and-white E Ink reading devices to optimize their outdoor reading or color LCD devices to be able to read at night in bed with the light off. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is like two Readers in one,” said William J. Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “With our new GlowLight technology and the most advanced E Ink display available, we’ve created the most versatile, high-utility Reader ever; as exceptional for reading in the darkest bedroom as on the brightest beach. At only $139, NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight provides customers an amazing value and is the only device of its kind in the world.”

Aside from the addition of GlowLight, the latest NOOK is very similar to its predecessor, the NOOK Simple Touch. Somewhat surprisingly, despite GlowLight, the new model is lighter than its older sibling.

Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight specifications:

  • Processor: 800MHz TI OMAP 3
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.1
  • Cellular connectivity: None
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Display: 6-inch 16-level gray scale e-ink Pearl with GlowLight
  • Input: Touchscreen
  • Storage: 2GB onboard / SD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: None
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Battery: Non-removable lasting up to two months
  • Connectors: Micro-USB
  • Dimensions / weight: 165.4 x 126.6 x 12 millimeters / 197 grams

The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is now available for pre-order for US$139.99. It will be available starting in early May.

Read more: Barnes & Noble

Nov 072011

Barnes & Noble Nook TabletAs expected, Barnes & Noble today announced the Nook Tablet, billed as “the company’s fastest and lightest tablet with the best in HD entertainment.” Essentially the successor to the Nook Color, it comes with upgraded specifications and more multimedia content (such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Pandora).

Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet:

  • Processor: 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP4
  • Operating system: Google Android
  • Cellular connectivity: None
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Display: 7-inch WSVGA (104 x 600) IPS LCD
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB internal and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: None
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Connectors: 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack and charging port
  • Dimensions / weight: 206 x 127 x 12.2 millimeters / 400 grams

Barnes & Noble also introduced a free Nook Cloud service where Nook content can be stored. The service will also help synchronize content across devices.

The Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet will be available “on or about” November 17th for US$249. It is available for pre-order as of today.

Read more

Nov 042011

Ahead of its launch next week, new details have been leaked about Barnes & Noble’s latest Nook device. While the new Nook Tablet will look very much like the Nook Color, there are a few improvements under the hood. Multimedia, including video, will take on a larger portion of the limelight with bundled Hulu Plus​ and Netflix apps and new music services.

Rumoured Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet

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Oct 312011

Barnes & Noble will be hosting an event on November 7th where it is expected to unveil a successor to its Nook Color tablet. Little is known about it but it is expected to keep the 7-inch display of its predecessor.

November 7th 2011 Barnes and Noble event

It will be interesting to see what Barnes & Noble unveils in terms of features and pricing given the competition from new devices such as the Kobo Vox and Amazon Kindle Fire.

Barnes & Noble is also expected to refresh the design of its stores to give more space (and more marketing attention) to the Nook.

Read more

May 242011

Barnes and Noble All-New NOOK

As expected, Barnes & Noble today announced a new eReader device, the “All-New NOOK.” Described by CEO William Lynch as the simplest touch reader, it does away with the complexities of buttons and keyboards.

The new NOOK features a 6-inch touchscreen e-ink Pearl display and a single button (37 less than the Kindle as pointed out by Lynch during the unveiling) much as the Kobo eReader Touch Edition announced only yesterday. It also comes with a customized page transition animation that reduces flashing.

Continue reading »

May 182011

Barnes & Noble has begun to sent out press invitations for an event on May 24th in New York City. If a recent SEC filing is correct, the company will announce a new eReader device. Suggestions of a ‘special announcement’ give the story further credence.

One rumour suggests that it could be a more powerful device powered by Google’s Android 3.0 tablet operating system.

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May 052011

New products are not traditionally announced through Securities and Exchange Commission filings. But it appears that Barnes & Noble may have revealed an upcoming eReader announcement in an 8-K filed with the SEC. The document indicates that “it expects to make an announcement on May 24, 2011, regarding the launch of a new eReader device.”

The filing reveals no details about this new eReader. The Wall Street Journal conjectures that it could be “a more powerful combination tablet and e-reader, perhaps running a more advanced software like Google Inc.’s Honeycomb software.” It is also possible that the company will launch a successor to its original Nook which was first released in November 2009 (and later joined by a Wi-Fi-only version).

Barnes & Noble recently updated the Nook Color (launched in October 2010) to Android 2.2, enabling a number of tablet features previously not available.

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