We haven’t seen a new Barnes & Noble Nook tablet in a couple of years—but today, at an event in New York City’s Union Square Barnes & Noble store, Samsung and B&N unveiled a new co-branded tablet: the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. Mike Huseby, CEO of Barnes & Noble, called it “the first full-featured Android tablet optimized for reading."
That optimization essentially takes the form of Barnes & Noble's Nook software, which is a skin over the conventional interface of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. (in our lab tests, that tablet had a longer battery life than most, and very good display quality). The 8GB, 7-inch device, which comes in black or white, features a “Nook Library” widget on the home screen that shows your recent or favorite content and a convenient shopping window. Three Nook app icons also show up on the home screen: Nook Shop, Nook Search, and Nook Today, for new-content discovery and purchase. A small book button in the lower left corner takes you to the e-book you’re currently reading.
We took a quick look at a conventional Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 with the Nook app loaded, to compare that with the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. The hardware looks identical, although the Nook tablet comes with a longer cord—convenient for those who don't want the battery to drain while they're reading. We thought that the integrated software on the new Nook provided a richer, more coherent experience than using the Nook app on the standard Tab 4. And the Nook version leaves nothing out of the standard Tab 4, save for Samsung's animated screen-savers and a kids'-mode app