On Thursday, bookseller Barnes & Noble announced that it has teamed up with Samsung to produce co-branded Nook devices. The news arrives after the book company said months ago that it would no longer produce its own mainstream tablet devices, but instead let tablet makers do the hardware dirty work. Samsung is the first to do so.
The co-branded tablet will be based on Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 (opens in new tab), and feature a customized Nook Android home screen that mimics previous Nook devices. With just a touch, owners will have easy access to Barnes & Noble's library of more than three million books, newspapers and magazines. The new Nook will be a full-featured tablet that will be available sometime in early August.
In a press release distributed on Thursday, Barnes & Noble CEO Michael P. Huseby said that the company will continue to sell the Nook Glowlight, and provide customer support for current and older devices. The partnership with Samsung is a major milestone, he said, allowing Barnes & Noble to rationalize its Nook business.
"Working with Samsung on co-branded tablets will allow the Company to reduce its exposure to the substantial cost structure and other financial commitments that accompany ownership of the hardware production aspects of the Nook tablet business," the PR states. "Going forward, the Company will be able to focus on its proven expertise in acquiring and delivering the best digital reading experience to grow Nook content sales."
Will this co-branding with Samsung help Barnes & Noble's Nook business? After all, the bookseller pulled out of the tablet hardware business due to strong competition from the likes of Samsung and Amazon. By relying on a third party to produce hardware, Barnes & Noble can now focus on software and digital content. According to the company, the tablet will be sold next to its Nook eReaders in-store.
The specs of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 include a 1280 x 800 screen backed by a quad-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, 1.5 GB of RAM, and a 3.8 Volt Lithium Ion 4000 mAh battery promising up to 10 hours of video streaming time on a single charge. Other features include 8 GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot supporting 64 GB of storage, dual-band Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity, a 1.3MP camera on the front and a 3MP camera on the back.
"We are very excited and proud to partner with Samsung, a world-class technology and tablet leader, to create customized co-branded devices featuring our valuable Nook reading experience and digital content catalog for Barnes & Noble customers nationwide," said Huseby. "Standing behind these great new devices will be the power of our 40,000 Barnes & Noble booksellers combined with our deep bookselling and retail expertise."