Barnes & Noble Announces a New Nook Tablet For Some Reason

Posted on November 5, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 35 Comments

It looks like someone didn’t get the memo: Barnes & Noble inexplicably announced a new Nook tablet today.

“The new Nook 10.1-inch provides a complete reading and entertainment experience on our biggest display yet,” Barnes & Noble Chief Digital Officer Bill Wood said in a prepared statement. “The soft-touch feel and lightweight design make it a perfect holiday gift for readers who want to enjoy their favorite books for hours, while also being able to browse, watch shows, listen to music, or send emails all from one device. The Nook 10.1-inch is truly a gamechanger for the NOOK lineup.”


Aside from being attached to a dying e-book platform, the new Nook is also a 10.1-inch Android-based tablet being released in the year that hardware makers are abandoning Android-based tablets and using Chrome OS instead. So it’s sort of a two-fer.

The only reason I really mention it here is because the Nook represents a “what could have been” moment for Microsoft. As you may recall, Microsoft once owned part of the Nook business thanks to a $300 million investment. And when the business tanked in 2013, Barnes & Noble announced plans to spin it off. The software giant was rumored to have offered $1 billion for Nook so it could add the platform to its stable of consumer offerings.

Well, that never happened, of course. In 2014, Barnes & Noble decided to retain Nook and it bought out Microsoft’s share of the business. And that year, it partnered with Samsung on a line of Nook tablets, also running Android, in an attempt to jumpstart the business.

For its part, Microsoft eventually created its own e-book platform, which is available through Windows 10 and its Microsoft Edge web browser, which also works on mobile. But had it purchased Nook, it would have made its own e-reader hardware. Which, when you think of it, might have been a good use for that dual-screen nonsense that’s been rumored for years. Or as I called it at the time, a “Wook.”

Anyway, you can learn more about the new Nook 10.1″ from the Barnes & Noble website.


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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Barnes & Noble Announces a New Nook Tablet For Some Reason”

  1. skane2600

    I think Microsoft acquiring the Nook would have been almost as good an idea as acquiring Nokia was.

    IMO, the failure of Windows Mobile wasn't about hardware, but because it was too cross-form-factor, too late. Windows RT/8 wasn't just a failure in mobile but hurt the desktop as well. But MS continues to go through the motions (a little) with UWP.

  2. bbold

    I still use my old 9" Nook HD and love it. I also used to own the 10" Nook. So this ".1" is really the same as what was offered a few years back, but with updates, of course. For $129, I'm sure they'll sell like hotcakes. And why not? I'm proud of B&N. I think we should support our last few big bookstore companies as much as we can before they go extinct.

  3. Jeff Jones

    Yeah. I'm not buying one of those.

    What I would buy, is an ePaper reader designed to work with the Google Play Books store and libraries. As long as it seemed to be at least as cutting edge as the latest Amazon Kindle Oasis or Paperwhite readers.

  4. lecter

    Depends how you look at things, I guess. I see it as the cheapest 10'' Android tablet supported by a large brand, with accessories (kb & dock, pogo-pins for connecting them) and a design that doesn't use hot&cold aluminum like the iPad (seriously, why the hate for soft-touch plastic, it feels great). It even has the Play Store, which in my view makes it a much better purchase than any Kindle Fire. The old 10'' Nook tablet was also amazing value, given its FullHD screen and eventual official Play Store support. This tablet could work wonderfully as a video player, web browser, even for light productivity given its keyboard accessory and Android's support for a goddamn mouse cursor. Instead of the hate, Paul, why not a review as part of your "good enough computing" concept?

  5. chrisrut

    Congrats on yet another nominee for "Headline of the Year." Good one.

  6. DaddyBrownJr

    I always get a laugh out of people calling Nook a "dying e-book platform". It's been "dying" since I first started using the platform in 2010. All the books that you can get on Kindle you can get on Nook, and in addition, I've gotten innumerable books from my library that were not available to Kindle users. If I had listened to the pundits who were proclaiming the Nook a dead platform I would have missed out on a lot over the last 8 years. BTW: It's still going strong and I don't see an end in sight anytime soon.

  7. RonH

    Like Kobo, they support ePub

  8. aretzios

    The above comments were not very helpful. My own experience with Chrome OS tablets (I have owned the HP Chromebook x2) have been rather bad. Chrome, even in its latest incarnation, is not a very good tablet OS, irrespective of what Google is trying to achieve. The current Chrome OS is mostly a desktop OS that is poorly adapted to the tablet format. My Android tablets are far, far better. In many ways, Google's efforts with Chrome OS mirror those of Microsoft with Win10. Both of these companies are trying to bring desktop OSes to the tablet format. All they manage to do is create laptops of various configurations.

    Google may not want to admit it, but Android is the only OS that can take on iOS in tablets. Progressively, more and more apps take advantage of the tablet size. The "desktop" elements, like Chrome or Samsung's DEX are add ons with limited use and functionality in the small screen space.

  9. pauldain

    Seriously thought this was a headline from The Onion. For real.

  10. SvenJ

    Speaking of MS, do you remember MS Reader, the application that used the .lit file format. There were lots of free books available, classics and such. There was also a Word plugin that allowed .lit files to be produced making it a pretty easy home book publishing feature.

  11. petteri

    It's a shame they jut can't focus on their e-ink readers. These single purpose devices work just fine. I've been using the dedicated Nook e-readers since the first one and thoroughly enjoy them.

  12. ph-sth

    "Microsoft eventually created its own e-book platform, which is available through Windows 10 and its Microsoft Edge web browser"

    Another one to add to the "if you happen to be in the US" list.

    • tsay

      In reply to ph-sth:

      Baffling why they pursue this test/launch (how many sold? Kill it then...) strategy. There's far more love and goodwill for Microsoft, its products and its brand outside of N. America than there is in. They really need to change their approach and try flighting new products in the N. European/Scandinavian markets.

      We don't have such an arrogant, ignorant. petulant and "closed" Millennial/Hipster social "condition" over here...

      When I read Paul's posts about trust in Google it resonates loudly how he's writing from within his continental confines. The pendulum over here in recent times has moved several degrees to the opposite and slowly increasing even throughout the non-tech immersed general public.

      US Tech needs to stop fleecing our money, avoiding tax in the country of sale and then running away like giggling schoolboys thinking they're being clever.

      It never lasts, the school Masters never not know what's happening, they just turn a blind eye for smooth running....until it becomes socially incohesive. Then it stops; quickly and hard.

      You can only stand outside the head master's office so many times thinking it's cool. But the law, the rules and its enforcement ultimately never belongs to you.

    • Skolvikings

      In reply to ph-sth:

      You're not missing anything.

  13. Daekar

    I always liked e-ink screens.

    Never thought ebook readers made sense though. They were so obviously a transitional technology.

  14. MikeGalos

    Actually "what could have been" was the Microsoft Reader software that was available back in 2000, long before Kindle or Nook and which included the late Bill Hill's OSPREY (Optical Serial Pattern Recognition) readability engine. That's still, by far, the best book reading software that's ever been produced and actually took advantage of a lot of science behind how the UI of reading works with the brain. Almost two DECADES later, none of the current book readers are within generations of that design or close to as easy to use for actual reading.

    To understand what you're missing, search with your favorite search engine for Bill Hill's white paper entitled "The Magic of Reading". It's still around in multiple formats.

    Disclaimer, my wife was on the team that created Reader, I helped them with their Comdex roll-out and I'm proud to say that we were friends with Bill Hill and his family before their move to Hawai'i and his untimely death in 2012.

  15. MikeGalos

    FYI, "Microsoft eventually created its own e-book platform"?


    Microsoft Reader (complete with online in-app store - another innovation) came out in 2000.

    Amazon Kindle came out in 2007.

    B&N Nook came out in 2009.

    • skane2600

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      I think we aren't all using the same definition of an e-book platform or e-reader. If it's just software for displaying the content of a book along with a format for encoding them, then certainly Microsoft Reader was an early pioneer.

      But if we are talking about a mobile hardware and software platform specifically designed for reading e-books with a book-like display (i.e. electronic ink) and a long battery life, the Kindle was one of the first.

      That's not a negative against Microsoft Reader, it's just not possible to make a direct comparison because they were designed for different purposes.

  16. EugBeran

    It's a mean headline. Funny at the expense of people that still work for B&N.

    I bet they are people who wake up looking forward to do a good job. And hoping they can do it again tomorrow. Like some bloggers.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to EugBeran:

      You are missing the point. It's the 10-inch tablet that makes the least sense. If B&N wants to best serve this market, it should focus on e-readers.

      • Mike Widrick

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        They still sell an ereader, and the beauty of a 10" tablet ereader is comics and magazines and children's books. I would agree if this was their only ereader, but it's definitely a necessary option. 7" is too small for color content that doesn't fit on B&W ereaders.

        But they're in real trouble. They needed to do more with Microsoft, that was their last best chance at relevance. Or if they had found a way to do more with devices, say, with Samsung. Amazon was just too aggressive otherwise, subsidizing hardware but also ebooks.

        • skane2600

          In reply to solomonrex:

          I think it better fits the definition as a generic Android tablet with some book reading software than an e-reader. IMO an e-reader is a device customized for reading with the ability to be read easily outdoors with very low power requirements. I think Amazon understood this distinction and thus called their non-e-ink devices Kindle Fire.

    • feedtheshark

      In reply to EugBeran:

      Yeah, Paul's writing and opinions has been going downhill since he took on other writers. I guess pressure to monetize the site and 'be controversial'. I still come here "for some reason", but less and less.

      • Paul Thurrott

        In reply to feedtheshark:

        Two things.

        1. I enjoy that you commingle "quality of writing" with disagreeing on my stance on a topic. It's this lack of critical thinking that is drowning the U.S. in shameful stupidity right now. Try to disagree with reason and not a personal attack. Which brings me to...

        1. The Nook as a platform is dying, but the "for some reason" refers to a large 10-inch Android tablet at a time when only smaller devices, mostly e-readers, make any sense for the Nook and its customers. But then understanding that would require you to stop doing #1 first. And ... yeah.

        Sorry you disagree. Really sorry you have to be a dick about it.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          Looks like your ordered list is out of order.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          Actually, your objection in the article isn't about it being 10" but about it being Android based rather than it being ChromeOS which you claim is what device makers are switching to.

          The numbers, though, seem to show tablet purchasers leaving Android but not growth enough for ChromeOS to show up in Tablet OS usage. iOS tablets are still slightly leading in usage but that is at a time when iPad sales are down which points to a uniformly shrinking market. Where are you getting the data showing tablet makers switching to ChromeOS?

  17. rupertholmes

    Just ordered one. My NookHD+ is still working fine, but the battery does go down quickly. Not being locked to the Kindle format is a plus for me. I remember reading that these were coming out. Thank you for reminding me of the release.