No Barnes & Noble 'Wook' for the Windows faithful

Barnes & Noble took the wraps off its coming Nook HD and HD+ tablets. They're still Android, not Windows, inside.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Barnes & Noble rolled out its answer to the Kindle Fire HD on September 26. Spoiler alert: Due in late October, the Nook HD and HD+ are, like their predecessors, Android-based tablets.


To be fair, no one from B&N or Microsoft ever said we should expect a new operating system inside.

When Microsoft and B&N formed their joint "NewCo" venture back in late April 2012, many of us wondered about the possibility of a Windows-based reader and/or tablet -- a k a, a "Wook," or maybe a "WookIE" (You can thank us for the branding help later, NewCo.) My ZDNet colleague Jason Perlow even went so far as to create a mockup image of a Windows/WP OS- based Nook tablet, which I've used in my post above.

Back to reality.  B&N only committed to building a Windows 8 Nook app which will be downloadable from the Windows 8 app store, and which will be free to consumers.

However, a B&N filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission back in May fueled the speculation fires further with mention of a possible Microsoft Reader that could include an interface to the NewCo Store. The 55 mentions in the same SEC filing of "Windows Phone" had some of us conjecturing that there could be a B&N/NewCo Windows Phone OS-based reader or mini-tablet in the wings.

As of this week, it seems there's not going to be a Wook available this holiday season, after all. It looks like B&N/NewCo won't be offering or directly integrating with Microsoft's Xbox Live video or marketplace service, either. Instead, B&N seems to be building its own alternative, Nook Video service, that will work on Nooks, tablets, TVs and smartphones. There are supposedly free Nook Video apps for playback and syncing content coming, too.

(As far as I can tell, this B&N service and apps aren't B&N-branded versions of Microsoft's Xbox services and apps. If they are, no one from Microsoft is conceding this, at this point.)

What does seem to still be in the works is some kind of a B&N/Microsoft/NewCo app and/or platform that has to do with active reading and which will integrate with Microsoft Office.

It sounded from a B&N executive's comment in May that this could be something that would be of potential interest to information workers, students, authors and consumers. The pair seem to have discussed plans for some kind of tool or app that would allow creation in Office and publishing in the Nook book store. Maybe the Microsoft Research GatherReader or the Project Austin app that uses some of the axed Microsoft Courier code figures in here, somehow?





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