They've seen the enemy and it is Amazon. So Samsung and Barnes & Noble are teaming up to combat their common foe. The companies just rolled out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, a 7-inch tablet that blends Samsung’s technology with Nook’s content and e-reader platform.
The electronics giant and the bookseller are aiming to offer consumers an Android tablet optimized for reading. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will sell in over 600 Barnes & Noble stores and online for $179 after a $20 rebate. The co-branded tablet comes with over $200 worth of free Nook Store content.
We asked Roger Entner, a principal analyst at Recon Analytics, for his thoughts on the dynamic duo’s effort. He told us it makes sense for both companies.
“E-readers are one of the major differentiators in the book world, and Barnes & Noble needs to keep developing the Nook. They really can’t cede that market to Amazon.com,” Entner said. “Meanwhile, Amazon is becoming a handset provider. Amazon is a joint enemy so they are collaborating to give consumers a strong alternative by fighting against the company on the device side.”
Equipped for Reading
Specs-wise, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is a 7-inch device that looks much like the traditional Galaxy Tab and carries the same hardware specs. That means it’s lighter and thinner than older Nooks and easier to hold. There’s nothing really stopping someone from just buying a Galaxy Tab, other than the Barnes & Noble offer for content. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
By partnering with Samsung, Barnes & Noble is able to deliver features it’s never before offered on the Nook: built-in 1.3-megapixel front- and 3-megapixel rear-facing cameras for photos and video chats. The device is Wi-Fi-enabled and comes stocked with Google apps, including a Chrome Web brower and built-in GPS capabilities for mapping apps.
Barnes & Noble has done plenty of market research that makes the companies bullish on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. For example, 77 percent of U.S. adults in a Harris Interactive survey agreed that, “reading has always been an important part of my life.” What’s more, 67 percent said reading puts them in a better mood.
Meanwhile, 76 percent of U.S. adults said their reading habits have increased over the past three years, and 44 percent attributed access to an e-reader, tablet or smartphone as the reason. At 96 percent, e-mail is the most popular content type, followed by social media (67 percent); Web sites, online articles or blogs (73 percent); work-related materials (46 percent); ebooks (31 percent); and digital magazines or newspapers (40 percent).
Going After Amazon
Why does Barnes & Nobile really need another e-reader form factor? And why does Samsung need yet another flavor of tablets?
Staying competitive in the e-reader market means continuous development. That’s an expensive undertaking, Entner noted, especially for a company like Barnes & Nobile that’s under pressure to keep up with Amazon’s massive market attacks.
“Amazon threw down the gauntlet with its Fire phone and that makes it much easier for Samsung to rationalize this partnership,” Entner said. “On top of it, there shouldn’t be too much development needs for Samsung because it’s mostly the stock Galaxy Tab.”