Barnes and Noble is bringing in some heavy firepower for the latest version of its "Nook" tablet, partnering with Samsung for the first new Nook in two years.
This new Barnes and Noble-branded tablet is a special version of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 4, dubbed the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, and marks the first tablet made by a third party. The tablet comes in black or white, features 8 GB of storage, a 7 inch HD display, and adds a 3 megapixel rear camera and a 1.3 megapixel front camera. It is also lighter and thinner than previous Nook devices and runs on Android 4.4 Kit Kat.
In addition to the tablet, Barnes and Noble stores will also be getting new customer support services at its 660 stores across the country specifically for Nook users called "Barnes and Noble Advantage." Nook owners having difficulty with their devices can travel to the nearest Barnes and Noble to seek help with no appointment necessary, a service similar to Apple's Genius Bar. Service representatives will be able to set up new devices, troubleshoot problems and, Barnes and Noble being a bookstore, make suggestions as to what customers should read next.
Like older Nook models, the Galaxy Nook will feature an online "Nook Shop" app that offers access to books, movies, shows and other apps. The bookseller will be offering "$200 in free content" via the app with a purchase of a Galaxy Nook. Current offerings include books like "Freakonomics" and "The Wanderer" and episodes from HBO's Veep and NBC's "Hannibal." Barnes and Noble is also including 14-day free trials to a variety of magazines like "Cosmopolitan" and "Sports Illustrated" with a purchase of the new tablet. Galaxy Nook users will also have access to the Google Play store.
The Barnes and Noble-Samsung partnership was announced in June after the bookseller decided to cease producing its own devices due to costs and poor sales. The Galaxy Nook is the first product of the partnership.
Will it be able to keep up with the rest of the tablet competition? Jonathan Shar, president of Nook Media, seems to think so in an interview with Re/code.
"It's really the first full-featured Android tablet optimized for reading, and it's an incredible value," Shar says. "The combination of these two things won't be something people will want to pass up."
The tablet is available in Barnes and Noble stores and online starting today for $179 after a $20 rebate.