B&N giving up on Nook tablets, turning to unnamed hardware partners instead

June 25, 2013
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Nook Tablets

When B&N unveiled that it was adding Google Play support its Nook HD line, we hoped that bringing Google’s store-front to the device would be enough to push the company forward and allow Barnes & Noble to successfully compete against other Android devices, including Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets.

As it turns out, the solution was more of a quick band-aid to help drive sales and further deplete existing Nook HD stock.

Today B&N announced that amid declining revenues for the Nook division, they are ending in-house production of Nook tablets, though they will continue to manufacture and sell Nook e-readers.

So are Nook tablets dead and over? Not exactly.

The idea is that the company wants to reign in costs and reduce risks. One of the ways they hope to do this is through the creation of a partnership program, where they will turn to other manufacturers to produce their own Nook-branded tablets.

As for existing Nook tablets, B&N plans to continue to support the devices in-store and through updates. Additionally, B&N will sell the Nook HD line at least through the holiday season.

Will a 3rd party model work for Nook tablets?

You have to wonder how interested vendors will be in partnering with B&N on a line that clearly has seen better days. You also have to wonder whether partner devices would still feature B&N’s custom UI, or would merely have the “Nook” branding and come bundled with the Nook app (as well as Google Play).

If the Nook partnership model is only about tapping into the somewhat-limited power of the Nook brand, you can probably count out bigger manufacturers like Acer, Asus, Sony and Samsung from getting involved. One potential suitor that comes to mind is Foxconn, after all the company has clearly shown a desire to branch out and create its own branded hardware. Keep in mind that’s nothing but pure speculation.

Are you surprised that B&N is throwing in the towel when it comes to creating its own tablet hardware? Can B&N find success through co-branded Nook devices?

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