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Barnes & Noble to Launch 2 New NookColors This Year

September 23rd, 2011 by · 48 Comments · hardware rumors

I was handed some juicy insider info the other day and oh my, is it a surprise.

Barnes & Noble is rumored to be releasing a replacement NookColor some time in October. All the unsubstantiated rumors had come out of Asia, so I wasn’t sure that I  should take them seriously. I did, but that was only because B&N have been clearing out the refurbished units at a decent discount. And until today the unsubstantiated rumors were all I had.

According to my source, Barnes & Noble held a planning meeting last week. One of the topics discussed in the meeting was B&N’s marketing plans for their ebook readers and how they would be promoted next quarter.

 

I have, in my hot little hands, a slide that may have been used in that planning  meeting. It mentions that B&N will have 3 ebook readers next quarter, not 2. According to the slide, the NookColor will be getting a brother tablet. Now, I’ve been asked not to post the slide, unfortunately; it might be possible to trace it back to my source. Here’s what it says:

  • Nook EPD
  • Smart Touch $139
  • Nook Color
  • Encore $249
  • Acclaim $349

There’s also a notation that it has been approved by WL/JI, and I believe those are the initials of William Lynch (CEO of B&N) and James Iannone (head of B&N Digital Products). (Before I go further, let me confirm that Encore and Smart Touch are valid product names for the current 6″ Nook Touch and 7″ NookColor.) That part is legit.

All I have right now are the names and prices of the tablets, but that alone tells me several details. First and foremost, B&N will keep the NookTouch at $139, and they will have the 2 NookColors at higher price points. The Encore and Acclaim tablets will be priced at  $249 and $349.

The Acclaim name is new.

Given that B&N kept the name Encore, it seems likely that the Encore tablet will keep the 7″ screen from the current model. I would also guess that the new tablet will be a hardware upgrade from the current one – that’s why the price is the same.

On the other hand, the Acclaim tablet could be anything. And that makes it so much more fun – I can speculate to my heart’s content. Here’s my idea.

I think the Acclaim name was chosen becuase of the connotations. It’s the name of a defunct gaming company, so just saying the name in certain circles will be enough to identify the tablet as a gaming device.

Now, the trademark for that name is owned by Playdom (a Disney sub). We already know that the current NookColor has apps from Disney, so clearly they have a working relationship with B&N and that tells us that Disney would be in a position to know about the new NookColor. This would suggest that Disney already know about the name and they are okay with it.

Aside from the name connection, there’s little to suggest that this is a gaming device. But I think it is, and that would mean that the Acclaim tablet is the Android tablet that GameStop are currently beta-testing. No one knows any details yet about the Gamestop tablet, aside from the fact it’s based on the hardware of an existing tablet. But ever since a reader pointed out the relationship between B&N and Gamestop, I have believed that they were using the hardware.

Gamestop have a connection to B&N. Disney have a connection to B&N. Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense for the NookColor Acclaim to be sold by both retailers and use content from Disney (and other developers, of course)? The 2 retailers could share the ecosystem and the development cost while using the tablet for non-competing purposes. The guy who tipped me to the idea that B&N and Gamestop might share a tablet is expecting them to do just that.

Of course, all I have are the names and prices, so this could be completely off the wall.

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