Nook to take over 7-8 inch Windows tablets?
Regarding the announcement today that Microsoft is investing heavily in B&N Nook, I think it will be interesting to see how this will affect both Windows tablets and B&N Nook.
Clearly, Microsoft needed an eBook competitor to go against Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks. Now, it is clear that they are looking to Barnes and Noble to fill that gap. I think this may be filling a major gap in Microsoft's current (or future) lineup of tablet hardware.
So far, Microsoft has established its 3 screens and a cloud of Windows--Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox all run Metro, and I think it's great. The common UI language will really tie together all their different operating systems on different platforms. However, there is one place we have yet to see Windows: 7 and 8 inch tablets. Windows Phone has so far topped out with the 4.7" Titan, and the smallest Windows 8 Tablet, as seen by their screen resolution projections, will be 10.1 inches. This means they are lacking in the crucial 7-8" eBook/Tablet market that is currently dominated by the Kindle Fire, as well as some Android tablets and the Nook Tablet. Do you think this is how Microsoft will choose to compete in this form factor? And what services will be melded with Nook?
These tablets, especially the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, are clearly labeled as content consumption devices, not for productivity. This is evident by the content that is offered through the Amazon App Store, which seems to be making money for Amazon despite the Fire hardware being sold for a loss. What I want to know is how the new Nook/Microsoft tablet that is (hopefully) forthcoming will appear, and what content it will provide.
OS and Content
Will this tablet run Nook's Android OS? Or some version of Windows 8? As much as I hope it would be the latter, I can't see Microsoft "fragmenting" Windows 8 or Phone 8 in order to make a 7-8" tablet. Will it provide content through the Microsoft Windows Marketplace? Run the same apps as Windows 8/Phone 8? Offer music and video through Zune (or whatever replaces Zune?) If so, will the current Nook App Store be abandoned? Will this anger developers? Clearly, it will offer books through the Nook bookstore, but that is all we really know so far. Obviously, I don't know the answer to these questions, and few do, but it sure is fun to speculate.
I already am fairly established into the Windows ecosystem. I own an Xbox. I use Live services and Skydrive, although I do own an original iPad, and have bought many books through the Kindle store that I read on my iPad. I used to have an iPhone for several years, but now that I have used Windows Phone 7 for almost 2 years, I am hooked. I love how beautiful and smooth it is, and how well it integrates with Facebook and Twitter. I thought about getting a Macbook Air, but the upcoming Windows hybrid tablet/laptops look amazing. We will have to see.
We Will all have to wait for the 3 screens of Windows for a few more months, but is it possible that this new and recent investment into Nook could introduce a fourth Windows screen of 7-8" tablets used primarily to consume Microsoft and Nook content? Or will Microsoft simply start developing for the Nook platform? Comment and add your ideas!