There's a fitting literary analogue to bookseller Barnes & Noble's pursuit of the tablet market. The company, which has never recovered from the rise of Amazon and online book buying, has hunted the digital reading space like its white whale. Even after all signs point to the format's decline, B&N has refused to give up on what it probably once thought was a brilliant synergy between its content and the means to consume it.
Some time ago, it gave up creating its own hardware, stemming further losses by partnering with Samsung to brand some of its tablets as Nook editions.That apparently barely moved the needle, as Barnes & Noble is now trying another approach -- a new Nook tablet has just reached the FCC, and it appears designed to compete with the firm's other white whale: Amazon.
The FCC filing shows a 7-inch tablet with Barnes & Noble and Nook logos on the rear built by Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen Jingwah Information Technology Co., Ltd. The submitted user manual calls it the Nook Tablet 7-inch, and rather than rely on the premium specs of Samsung's Galaxy lineup, the Nook looks like a budget Android device.
A full spec list was not furnished to the FCC, but we do know the Nook Tablet 7 includes a MediaTek MT8163 ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor, which is the same one that powers Amazon's latest Fire HD 8-inch model. That's led to speculation that Barnes & Noble will try to compete with Amazon on the low end of the Android tablet market, abandoning the higher-end approach of the Samsung partnership. For instance, the existing 7-inch Nook, a re-badged Galaxy Tab 4, currently costs $129.99, well above the price of Amazon's big-selling Fire models.
We obviously have no pricing or release date information, as our info comes from FCC-filing sleuthing, but it wouldn't be shocking to see an aggressive price point and holiday season availability as Barnes & Noble throws another harpoon at its white whale. Unfortunately for the bookseller, Amazon has the heft to easily handle such competition, which could be leaving us wondering at the start of the new year: Will B&N abandon its ill-fated tablet quest and finally head back to port before the white whale sinks it?