Samsung rolls out 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablet for $299.99

Barnes & Noble keeps its e-reading brand afloat with another Samsung-produced Android slate, bundling $200 worth of books and other media content into the purchase price.

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Barnes & Noble once had high hopes for its Nook brand, which would compete with Amazon's Kindle as part of the bookseller's attempt to diversify from physical book sales. But its own hardware ( funded in part by Microsof t) — both dedicated e-readers and tablets — couldn't compete with the onslaught of iPads, Android tablets, and Kindles and Kindle Fires.

As a result, B&N decided to spin Nook off as its own company and partner with Samsung to produce Nook-branded hardware. In August Samsung delivered the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 Nook , and now the electronics giant has produced a bigger version, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1.

Like its smaller sibling, the 10.1-inch version is basically a Samsung Android tablet stuffed with some Nook-related goodies. That includes not only Nook apps for content consumption, but also $200 worth of digital media to consume with those apps. (The same deal is offered for the Galaxy Tab Nook 7.) In addition, the Nook store is pre-installed, and because we're talking about an Android slate, the Google Play store is also on hand.

Beyond that, this is pretty much the same as the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 (though you can't get it in white, like you can the non-Nook version). That means 1,280x800 resolution, 16GB of built-in storage, 1.3-megapixel front-facing and 3-megapixel rear-facing cameras, microSD slot, and so forth.

The similarity even comes down to the price. Despite Barnes & Noble touting a "special introductory price" of $299.99, Samsung sells the non-Nook Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 for the same amount. (Samsung claims its price only lasts through November 1, whereas it's unclear how long B&N will keep its price the same.) The equivalent pricing holds for the Galaxy Tab Nook 7 and non-Nook versions, though you can get the 7-inch Nook model in white as well as black.

The bottom line is if you want any of the content — including four books and a single episode of a few TV shows — the Galaxy Tab 4 Nooks are a better bargain compared to the non-Nook Samsungs. Of course, that's not quite a ringing endorsement for the continuing value of the Nook brand. While the synergies derived from this partnership are obvious — more purchases are made from the Nook store and Samsung gets more retail outlets for their tablets in the form of Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores — they seem pretty minor in the scheme of things, especially considering how much energy (and money) B&N devoted to the Nook over the last few years. The final chapter hasn't been written for the Nook just yet, but the denouement feels like it's just around the corner.

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