What Exactly Is the Samsung Barnes & Noble Nook? (Update)

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Nook Logo

Update: So, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK (official name, believe it or not) has been released. Apparently there’s an official event tomorrow, but some folks have already purchased it from retail stores and it’s available on the Barnes & Noble Web site. Apparently, it’s definitely just a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 with some Barnes & Noble software added on top, and at $179 it’s even the same price. Head to the site if you’re interested in the specs, but basically it’s a low-end tablet with full access to the Google Play store and middling value. I’d have a hard time recommending it unless you’re very heavily invested in the Nook ecosystem.

Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK

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I caught this video this morning providing a sneak peak at the upcoming Barnes & Noble Nook based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. Conceptually, I get what this will be: via Slashgear, a cobranded version of the Galaxy Tab 4 running a customized version of TouchWiz and, presumably, a customized version of the Nook software to go with it.

What I’m trying to understand is what will make this new device important. It will reduce the pressure on Barnes & Noble by glomming onto Samsung’s sunk cost of developing the Galaxy Tab 4 hardware. So, it’s just software development, and presumably not too much of it. But what value will the new Nook table bring over the scads of alternatives (including any iOS or Android tablet running the Nook software)?

That remains to be seen, I suppose. But I’m having a hard time imagining what Samsung and Barnes & Noble will come up with that will make this an even remotely competitive device.

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