Barnes & Noble and Samsung Release Collaborative Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK

Barnes & Noble and Samsung Release Collaborative Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK

Aug 20, 2014

Barnes & Noble and Samsung have released their previously announced joint project: the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK.

The new offering has a 7-inch display that looks to merge web use and e-reading by bringing NOOK features to the Galaxy Tab line. It is a wi-fi tablet that comes in white or black, with 8 GB of on-board memory that is expandable up to 32 GB via SD card. It also has a GPS chip and has a camera each on the front and back. It will have access to Google apps and the NOOK Store as well.

Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby invites people to come try the new device out. “The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is the most advanced NOOK ever, delivering the great NOOK experience our customers have come to love, with the high-performance tablet features they’ve asked for,” he says. “We invite reading and entertainment fans to visit their local Barnes & Noble store to experience the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK. Once they do, we’re certain they will make this innovative device part of their daily routine.”

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is available for sale at Barnes & Noble online and brick and mortar locations for $179 (with instant rebate).

[Source: Barnes & Noble/Samsung press release via Business Wire]

The Hills Are Greener: How Google is Hindering Android

The Hills Are Greener: How Google is Hindering Android

Apr 9, 2012

I have become convinced that the biggest hurdle for Android right now is Google.

The weaknesses that Google has in selling directly to consumers are coming to hit them hard. Amazon is making developers more revenue per user than Google is, and it ain’t close. Google’s own internal product strategies are in flux, with a long public manifesto saying they need to focus on their core products being released. This is one of the giants of the tech industry, and they have the biggest mobile operating system in the world, but they have still found ways to bungle so much of it.

Now the latest rumor is that Google wants to sell the much-rumored-but-never-seen Nexus Tablet to customers directly on the web. That worked so well for the Nexus One, right? Granted, a low-cost tablet is different than a phone which confusingly costs more than a bigger screen device. But if Google goes with this strategy, then they’re making a huge mistake, especially if they want to really stand their ground in the market of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.

Both of those devices are easy to find at retail – and for the latter, not just Barnes and Noble, either. Brick-and-mortar retail may be on a downswing, but the fact that someone can just go to a store and feel the device in their hands is a huge plus. Amazon is also the e-commerce leader, and that they can easily get the device in customers’ faces is a huge plus for them. Barnes and Noble has certainly been helped by having the Nook in not just their own storefronts, but by being in stores like Target as well. Having that public face is a necessity, and if Google follows through on their plan, it will backfire on them.

The Kindle Fire

Amazon’s other advantage is that they are very good at selling products directly to customers. They are a commerce company, they know how to get product to customers, and get the money from customers. While they also provide the pipeline to do so (and provide servers and web hosting for much of the internet, so that can’t be underestimated), and sell from third-party vendors on their website, the fact is that they know how to sell to consumers. The fact that they are dramatically outperforming Google on their own OS with a third-party store and ‘unofficial’ device is rather telling.

Google is an intermediary company. Google is what people use to get their info to them. They do that very well – their search is still king, and Gmail is still widespread. The point is that both of those products try to act as the pipeline that gets information to users that they want. Google’s failings come from when they try to be that direct provider. They’ve built an increasingly-capable operating system in Android, but they have shown their difficulties in getting quality products to customers. Google Play is struggling at making money for developers despite the number of Android devices out there. Heck, they can’t even get their stock operating system out there because the manufacturers and carriers have customized it to their whim, providing generally negative experiences.

They have failed to keep their phones up to date. They have sold phones that are underpowered and unsupported even when customers buy them. Google has found ways to make good hardware with timely updates (the Nexus devices have been critically well-received), but customers don’t have these devices.

So, with an idea that could have some viability – a graphically-powerful, low-priced Nexus Tablet? Instead of finding ways to put it in consumers’ hands easily, and having the natural ability to brag that they have more apps at launch, they’re going to try and sell it themselves? While it’s still rumor and it could be nothing, does it not reek of a patently Google decision?

Google has mismanaged Android to the point where they may actually make more money off of their services on iOS than they do on Android. The platform that they own. It’s crazy to think about, but it just might be reality.

I think the mobile market is far better than it was before Android came along. The problem is that because of Google’s own incompetence, it could be far better than it is. Google has the power to change things. They just seem unwilling or unable to use it.

Amazon Enters the Android Tablet Fray With the Kindle Fire

Amazon Enters the Android Tablet Fray With the Kindle Fire

Sep 29, 2011

Amazon recently held an event to talk about e-eaders, and as rumored, the online giant is in fact releasing a new Android device called the Kindle Fire, as well as two new Kindle eReaders (Kindle Touch – $99 and Kindle – $79).

So what are the special features of the Kindle Fire? First, the device will bring all of Amazon’s services together for a streamlined and cohesive experience. That means getting music from the Amazon MP3 store, streaming movies from the video store, and of course buying books and magazines. To make this a richer experience, all this will come with Whispersync. Watching a movie on the Fire, and want to watch it on the television? No problem, as the sync will allow the movie to resume right where it was left off. The same setup is true for music and books. Kicking things up a bit more, all people who buy this device will receive a free month of Amazon Prime to receive the full capability of the device. Even better is that all Amazon digital purchases (music, movies, books, and so on) are backed up to their cloud servers.

The next aspect Amazon is tackling is internet browsing. They are using their cloud servers to cache web pages, especially frequently-visited ones, so content is quickly made available, and the user never has to fully hit the website and download all the information. Those that have used Opera Mini before will know just about how this will work.

As far as device specifications, the Kindle Fire has a 7-inch IPS panel (1024×600, 169ppi, 16 million colors), Gorilla Glass coating, a 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and a chassis that weighs 14.6 ounces. There has been no confirmation that there is an external memory card slot, which would make sense if it were missing as Amazon tends to leave that out of its devices. While the cloud storage is nice, 8GB is rather weak and heavy users will most likely destroy that space within a very short amount of time.

The Kindle Fire

Finally, we get to the OS. It is confirmed that this will run Android, The Kindle Fire will not have access to the normal Google Android Market, and it is also missing many of the standard Google apps. Clearly, Amazon wants users to use their services and get their apps from the Amazon AppStore.

The biggest part of this announcement has to be the price, and that is $199. For those people that just want a small form factor device to watch movies, read book/magazines/comics, and listen to music, this will be extremely enticing. The Kindle Fire does not ship until November 15, so it is hard to make calls on how well it will do and how it will compete with the various Android tablets and the iPad.