Barnes & Noble's Nook Sidesteps the Grave Once Again With a New Lenovo-Built Tablet

Illustration for article titled Barnes & Noble's Nook Sidesteps the Grave Once Again With a New Lenovo-Built Tablet
Image: Barnes & Noble

For years, news of Barnes & Noble’s Nook line of e-readers and Android tablet being discontinued have surfaced again and again, but somehow the little-brand-that-could defies its own death with new hardware that brings it back from the brink of extinction. Today that comes in the form of a new 10-inch Nook tablet courtesy of Lenovo.

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There’s been good reason to repeatedly believe that Barnes & Noble has discontinued its Nook line, including the simple fact that its E Ink-based devices and more capable tablets have been sold out online and have been very hard to find in stores as of late. But Barnes & Noble’s senior director for Nook operations, Susan McCulloch, told The Verge yesterday that the low stock is actually the result of strong demand and sales of its e-readers as a result of everyone being stuck at home during the pandemic.

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Image: Barnes & Noble

That will soon change for devoted Nook users because starting in early April a new Nook 10-inch tablet will be available, designed with Lenovo, featuring a full metal body and an “85 percent screen-to-body ratio.” Powered by an octa-core processor “featuring an up-to-2.3 GHz main frequency” the new Nook actually features a 10.1-inch HD IPS touchscreen while its 32GB of built-in storage can be further expanded with a microSD card. Battery life is promised to be up to “10 hours of web browsing” which means if you’re instead streaming video you won’t get quite as much battery life between charges. The new Nook also comes with Bluetooth connectivity, an FM radio, and front and rear cameras, so it can be used for more than just a media consumption device.

Although it features a custom Barnes & Noble front end running on top of Android, the new Nook still has access to the Google Play Store. So users can either choose to stick with getting their content from the Barnes & Noble app or download books from other sellers like Amazon or Rakuten through the Kindle and Kobo apps. With a price tag of $130, the new Nook sounds like another well-priced and mostly capable Android tablet, but more importantly, it puts the Nook brand back on life support for at least a couple more years.

DISCUSSION

My first e-reader was a Nook, and only because my friend gave me his for free. So while I mainly use a Kindle for ebooks now, I still have a substantial collection of Nook titles. So I’m glad Nook is still getting some support.