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Microsoft and Barnes & Noble to announce tablet with Xbox Live streaming

June 18, 2012

As you may have already heard, Microsoft will host a special media event later today, and, while the company has not revealed what product it plans to release, the word on the street was that Redmond will introduce its first in-house built Windows tablet today. But that no longer seems to be the case anymore.

A later TechCrunch report revealed that the unnamed device is a joint Microsoft-Barnes & Noble production and therefore it may not be based on Windows RT / Windows 8:

Both the Wrap and ATD claim the event will showcase a Microsoft built Windows RT/Windows 8 tablet. According to folks with knowledge of the situation, they’re somewhat right but mostly wrong. We’re being told that a tablet/e-reader built in conjunction with Barnes & Noble is on tap and that it will be entertainment driven.

The Microsoft Barnes & Noble table would apparently be the first non-Xbox device that will get Xbox Live streaming capabilities says the publication, arguing that this is the explanation for the rushed Microsoft media event’s location and timing. The announcement will take place today in Los Angeles at 6:30 PM local time, with the actual location of the event yet to be disclosed to those members of the media invited to attend.

So if this tablet would not run Windows RT / Windows 8, what OS are we talking about? The report doesn’t say, but in case we’re ruling out Windows then only Android remains. Barnes & Noble is already selling a couple tablet/e-readers of its own, both part of the Nook family and both running Android.

The Nook Color and the Nook Tablet are obvious Amazon Kindle Fire rivals, but Barnes & Noble may be interested in further expanding its tablet line this year, especially considering that Google is going to unveil its own Nexus branded tablet soon. The fact that Google I/O is just a few weeks away, and that’s where this Google tablet is supposed to be unveiled, is a probable explanation for Microsoft’s and Barnes & Noble’s sudden decision to host a special tablet-related event today.

Is Microsoft ready to launch its own Android-based tablet? Would such a product also compete against the plethora of Windows 8 tablets expected to hit stores by Christmas and in early 2013? Or will we see the first Nook Windows-based Nook tablet be unveiled today? Is Microsoft trying to get as many potential tablet buyers excited about what the company will have to offer once Windows 8 tablets ship in terms of user interface and digital content availability?

We’ll be able to answer all these questions and more later today once we know exactly what the two companies will announce. Is anyone excited about this new Microsoft product launch?