We haven't seen a new Barnes & Noble Nook tablet or e-reader since 2018 — but Lenovo's changing that. We just learned that the Nook brand will return next week in a tablet — and possibly not an e-reader.
This comes from The Verge (opens in new tab), which quotes Susan McCulloch, Barnes & Noble’s senior director for Nook operations, that a new NOOK tablet "designed with Lenovo" will launch next week.
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Will this be a branded version of the Lenovo Tab P11 that was announced at CES? We'll have to wait and see. Unfortunately, Lenovo's last stab at a monochrome e-ink Nook was not a success: the Nook GlowLight 3 suffered from poor interface design and sluggish performance, which just gets in the way of your reading.
Interestingly enough, the Nook's history includes full-color tablets that are forked versions of Android, and were set to compete with Amazon's Fire tablet. The first Nook arrived in 2009, and paired an e-ink screen with a smaller color touchscreen. Then, 2010's Barnes & Noble Nook Color tablet switched over to a full-color panel.
Most recently, Barnes & Noble released the $129 10.1-inch Nook, its largest Android-based tablet ever. On March 17, Good e-Reader (opens in new tab) reported that all of the Barnes and Noble Nook e-readers were sold out, as the retailer caught changing out its supply before the new announcement.
The big question about a new Nook is how it will continue to fight the war against the Amazon Kindle — the current king of the field. The TCL Nxtpaper that debuted at CES 2021 showed one possible path: a full-color E Ink display.
Either way, the tablet as a product has evolved notably since Barnes & Noble last fielded a competitive model. Two of Amazon's main Kindles are water-proof, the iPad has gone for productivity and Samsung's attacking Apple with models that are competitively priced.