First announced in June, Barnes & Noble unveiled the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, a 7-inch tablet cobranded with hardware manufacturer Samsung Electronics, at a Wednesday press conference at the B&N Union Square store in Manhattan. The device will sell for $179 (after a $20 rebate) and the partnership with Samsung will allow B&N to cut its hardware manufacturing costs while continuing to offer its consumers a Nook brand full-color tablet reading device.
The device was revealed at the event by B&N CEO Mike Huseby and Samsung Electronics CEO Tim Baxter. The partnership between the e-book retailer and electronic manufacturer was announced back in June. The deal will allow B&N to continue to offer a color tablet device, while cutting more than $10 million in annual costs associated with the Nook division (after personnel layoffs and office relocations).
The press conference focused on the device itself, the Galaxy Tab 4, the latest addition to the family of Galaxy Tab tablets (also available in 8-inch and 10-inch models), which was first introduced in 2010. This version of the Galaxy Tab 4 was released earlier this year. The device has 8 GB of storage, uses Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) with a color touchscreen and front and rear facing cameras. The device has an SD card for expandable storage and can be used to watch video and listen to music as well as reading, and Samsung claims that the battery will provide 10 hours of video viewing. While its often listed at about $200, most retailers also offer the non-Nook Tab 4 at the same price of $179.
Huseby said B&N/Nook offers about 3 million titles. The device allows consumers to log into a Nook page that offers new title recommendations. There is free in-store customer service and tech support as well as free ini-store wi-fi and reading. B&N is also launching the new Samsung/Nook device with a promotional offer that includes $200 worth of free content, including books, movies and TV shows and magazines. The device also gives each new consumer a $5 crash credit in the Nook e-book store.
Baxter noted that while tablet sales have slowed in recent years, the demand for specialized mobile devices—presumably like the semi-specialized Nook-branded Galaxy Tab 4—is growing. Huseby used the presentation to present some statistics about reading gleaned from a B&N sponsored Harris Poll on reading habits.
While the number of people in the survey was not revealed, Huseby said that 77% of those surveyed agree that “reading is an important part of my life,” and 44% said that their reading had increased due to access to a smartphone or tablet reading device. Huseby noted that digital reading devices are “redefining” what reading is and said survey respondents noted that email (96%) is the top item read, followed by social media (67%), websites/blogs (73%) work related material (46%), digital newspapers/magazines (46%) and e-books (31%).