Barnes & Noble Takes First Step To Phasing Out Nook Tablets

January 3, 2013, William Lynch of Barnes & Noble/Nook Media:

We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward.

February 28, 2013: Brave Talk From Nook Media’s William Lynch

As the market goes to more multi-function tablets, we have to look at how we offer functionality differently and that’s what we’re focused on now.

May 3, 2013: Google Play comes to Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD and HD+, we go hands-on (video)

So Lynch has delivered. It’s probably too little too late.

Clearly they’re trying to do the right thing by letting in the Play Store. This assures customers that they won’t be left with a useless piece of hardware when they finally pull the plug on their own Nook App Store — which they will do.

Does this move help Barnes & Noble sell more Nooks now? Maybe.

But I think it’s unlikely.

No one thinks of the tablet Nooks as tablets. B&N has been very good at positioning them as reading devices. They have some big-time marketing to do to overcome their prior marketing.

When people think “tablet,” they envision an iPad. Then a Nexus 7. Then maybe a Samsung or even a Microsoft Surface. Amazon customers will also think Kindle Fire. But no one in their right mind in the general buying public thinks “Nook” when it comes to “tablet.”

Lynch just wants to dump these babies as gracefully as possible now.

What would help are two more things:

1) A price cut to $199 for the 16GB model, and,
2) An update that will allow alternate launchers

B&N/Nook Media can talk all they want about their skin adds value — but that’s only to B&N customers. No Android tablet buyer wants a proprietary skin over Android. Some aren’t even satisfied with the default Android launcher. This is why alternate launchers were invented. Until people can make a Nook theirs, all the marketing in the world touting Google Play isn’t going to go as far as it should. Same-day update: Nate over at The eBook Reader reports that alternate launchers do work. As you can tell, that’s something I never expected.

At any rate, I’m convinced their days of Android are at an end.

I believe the iFanr report — Rumor: Microsoft To Do 7.2-Inch 4:3 Tablet — and that this will be the new Nook tablet later this year. Microsoft will want that for its $300M investment in Nook Media.

And today iFanr has a new report that bolsters my argument: [Exclusive] Surface 2 will be July production, Surface mini See you next year:

[iFanr] have just received insiders broke the news the Surface 2 10.6-inch tablet will be in July this year after production, and configure the 1080P screen; legend of Surface mini will be available after 2014.

It is reported that, before the exposure of 7.2- inch flat-panel design has been revoked.

Let me do my own translation of that:

1) Microsoft created a 7.2-inch 4:3 ratio tablet
2) iFanr was able to confirm it
3) Microsoft now says they will not release that this year

And I say because:

4) That 7.2-inch Surface will be the new Nook tablet this year

And I’m sticking with that.

There is just no other exit for B&N/Nook Media to take. They’ve gotten pounded competing in the Android market. They weren’t able to succeed. They’ve admitted that by adding Google Play (which is not a Big Deal when I make you recall the Kobo Arc had that from the start).

So where would they have any chance? With Windows RT. They’ll go back to marketing it as a reading tablet — a song they should damn well stop singing — and they’ll take some sort of cut of sales from Microsoft’s app store while trying to make their own additional profits from Nookbooks and current media (video/audio) contracts they have.

A 7.2-inch 4:3 Windows RT tablet would be something no one else has. And with the close cooperation of Microsoft — their $300M investment has to be protected — it will be something arm’s-length OEMs — Acer, Asus, Samsung, etc — aren’t offering and in fact can’t offer.

This can succeed very well if B&N/Nook Media doesn’t screw it up. They’ll need to learn that their skin — and they will want a skin — has to be an option.

Even better is if they learn not to do any skin, to leave it the vanilla Surface Metro/Modern UI, and make the Nook part of it a full-blown interconnected app. Call it Nook Media Center and let it encompass Nookbooks as well as audio and video. Don’t lock people in.

They would win with four groups:

1) Existing Nook customers
2) New Nook customers
3) People wanting a small Surface-like tablet
4) Hackers who will go insane over it

And if they want to finally gain some traction with eBooks too, offer standard Adobe DRM as a buying option for Nookbooks. Don’t worry about confusing customers. Word will get out about the difference. Just finally give people the choice.

Previously here:

Rumor: Microsoft To Do 7.2-Inch 4:3 Tablet
The Nook HD+ Is A Financial Sinkhole
All Nook Tablets Are Now Orphan Devices
Nook Media’s William Lynch Should Resign
Armageddon Nook HD+ Non-Sales Update
Armageddon Nook HD+ Sales Are A Yawn
The Market Barnes & Noble Ignores
The Sad Slow Ending Of The Nook
Brave Talk From Nook Media’s William Lynch
The Changes Nook Media Must Make
The Fallacy Of The B&N Fallacy
Barnes & Noble Nook Bloodbath
Countdown To The Death Of The Nook Begins
Barnes & Noble Needs To Go Nuclear
Nook Media Is Killing Itself In The Womb
New Color Nooks De-Emphasize Books

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2 Comments

Filed under Barnes & Noble Nook

2 responses to “Barnes & Noble Takes First Step To Phasing Out Nook Tablets

  1. Just wanted to chime in and write that I’m on a Nook right now and I use it almost exclusively as a tablet; in fact that’s the reason I chose this over a Kindle Fire.

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