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B&N to Launch “Nook Audio” – MP3 Player, Dock, ?

March 31st, 2012 by · 22 Comments · Barnes & Noble, hardware news

This morning I was reminded why I check my email, even on the weekend. A source inside B&N thought today was a good day to leak hints about Barnes & Noble’s newest device, which it looks like they plan to call Nook Audio.

I’m still not quite sure what this device is, but I do know several things about it.

First, B&N filed trademark for “Nook Audio” back in February. I didn’t post about it at the time because B&N was going through a phase where they trademarked everything (I think there was even a trademark for “Nook Kitchen Sink”). I didn’t know which of the terms would be used, so I decided to wait and see what happened.

Also, Barnes & Noble hasn’t passed any new devices through the FCC, and the lack of FCC paperwork indicates that it won’t be a Wifi equipped device such as an ereader or mp3 player.

But I’m posting about it today because now I have the product page. There’s hardly any info on it, but the fact it is there tells me that the product is coming. We also now have a model number, OE250, and that tells us a couple things.

The model number is different from any of the Nooks, so this likely isn’t a Nook with sound. It’s probably not even an mp3 player; B&N would probably have built Wifi in and had it run Android (it would have been a mini Nook Color).

So what we have here is an audio accessory. The Nook Touch doesn’t have sound, so this would have to be for the NC or NT.  It might be as boring as headphones, but I’m hoping for a stereo dock. A couple different companies have them in the works for the KF and Nook Color (here, here), so there’s a good chance that B&N also thought now would be a good time to offer one.



22 Comments so far ↓

  • Brad Linder

    I wouldn’t place too much stock in the lack of an FCC listing. It might be tough to find if the wireless chip maker or some other component maker submitted it instead of B&N… or B&N might have submitted documents that haven’t been released to the public yet.

    Pretty much every time there’s a new iPhone or iPad, the documents are made available on the FCC website exactly the same day Apple officially announces the products.

    • Nate Hoffelder

      True, and one thing I’ve noticed about FCC paperwork is that sometimes it gets held for months after the testing is done before it gets filed on the FCC website. That’s what Apple usually does.

  • Mike Cane

    I think you’re getting excited over nothing. The TM application states:

    >>>G & S: portable audio equipment, namely, stereo headphones, stereo earphones, stereo ear buds, replacement earphone and ear buds, combination stereo headphones and microphones, headsets and hands-free headsets, bluetooth stereo headphones, earphones, audio and power connector cables and adapters and accessories and replacement parts therefor; audio equipment, namely, audio speakers, stereo audio speakers, bluetooth and wireless speakers, audio speakers and docks and wireless audio speaker and docks for use with portable electronic apparatus, namely, electronic book readers, computers, tablet computers, mobile hand-held computing apparatus, smartphones and portable hand-held apparatus, audio and power connector cables and adapters and accessories therefor

    It seems to me this is nothing more than a line of audio *accessories* — headphones, etc. Probably distinguished with the Nook brand due to some name-brand designers attached to them — and also to further inflate the Nook brand value so if they spin it off they can count this as part of it.

  • Mike Cane

    More significant is this Amazon TM filing:

    Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Cases, covers, stands, skins, speakers, accessories, monitors, displays, and keyboards for portable electronic devices; power adapters; USB cables; computer hardware; full line of electronic and mechanical parts and fittings for portable electronic devices; electronic docking stations; battery chargers; electrical connectors, wires, cables, and adaptors; wireless remote controls for portable electronic devices; headphones and earphones; lights for portable electronic devices and printed materials

    >>>IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Promoting the goods and services of others; retail store services; online retail store services; business services, namely, providing computer databases regarding the purchase and sale of a wide variety of products and services of others

    And this one:


    >>>Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Information services in the fields of electronic publishing, content, mobile communications device utilization and management, and curriculum development; professional development services relating to electronic publishing, content, mobile communications device utilization and management, and curriculum development; educational and information services relating to electronic publishing, content, mobile communications device utilization and management, and and curriculum development

    >>>IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: mobile communications device registration and management services; mobile communications device content management; content recommendation services for mobile communications devices; consulting services in the fields of mobile communications devices, mobile communications device utilization and management, content, electronic publishing, software, computer hardware, networks, databases, and applications; computer application and network consulting services; technical consulting and support services; computer software installation and maintenance; providing technical troubleshooting support for mobile communications devices, computer software, computer hardware, networks, databases, and applications; maintenance and updating of software relating to computer, internet and password security and prevention of computer, internet and password risks; document data transfer from one computer format to another; providing information in the field of technology, content, and computer hardware and software design, development, and implementation; providing information in the fields of content, mobile communications devices, computer software, computer hardware, networks, databases, and applications; hosting of digital content on global computer networks, wireless networks, and electronic communications networks; providing an online network that enables users to access and share content, text, visual works, audio works, audiovisual works, literary works, data, files, documents and electronic works; providing a web site that gives users the ability to transmit, cache, receive, download, stream, broadcast, display, format, transfer and share content, text, visual works, audio works, audiovisual works, literary works, data, files, documents and electronic works; providing search platforms to allow users to request and receive, content, text, visual works, audio works, audiovisual works, literary works, data, files, documents and electronic works. providing temporary use of non-downloadable computer software and online facilities to enable users to access and download computer software; providing temporary use of online non-downloadable computer software that generates customized recommendations of software applications based on user preferences; providing non-downloadable mobile communications device software for enhancing mobile access to the internet via computers, mobile computers, and mobile communications devices

    There’s a third filing too.

  • Mike Cane

    @Nate When you search for that ISBN at B&N itself, it delivers:

    >>>We found 0 results for ISBN-13: 9780594478942. Please try another search or browse our recommendations below.

  • Peter

    Late to this article- I was gone this weekend.

    Good work Nate, and tipster!

    Toward the end of the last Barnes and Noble CC, William Lynch noted something along the lines of:

    “People forget that we have a long history of selling music and movies in our stores. So I think you’ll see us innovating a bit where we think we can add something.”

    In response to a question about plans for the nook.

    I think he was hinting that they may create their own music/ movies download service for the nook color and tablet. Which probably would not merit the term “innovative” -every other tablet already has those two things- if not for the fact that it’s Barnes and Noble.

    Could be related, or not.

    That being said- if they ARE creating a music service- it would make perfect sense for them to go after the premium headphone market in conjunction. Music downloads aren’t profitable on their own- they need to be paired with a high margin product like cloud services in order to be profitable- but since Barnes and Noble doesn’t have data centers to create a compelling cloud product, they’ll need some other synergistic product.

    The nook was designed by the same guy who created the jawbone earpiece- those sell for $140 and I think the markup is something like 200%.

    BN could cut the price in half and still have fat margins. And they can use their stores to demo any physical product.

    • Logan Kennelly

      I’m curious by your assertion that music downloads aren’t profitable but “cloud services” are. Could you elaborate a bit? I spend hundreds of dollars a year on music, but no money on cloud services. Am I somehow a leech customer for my preferred store? What high-margin, cloud services relating to music are people paying lots of money for?

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