Here is the second half of my post on B&N’s new gadgetry. Due to the length I decided to split the posts in twain. The first post is over here.
Yesterday B&N announced Nook Video, and as you can probably guess by now this service was built for the new tablets. The new tablets can stream audio over Bluetooth (funny, but B&N doesn’t seem to sell mp3 music) and they can output HD video over the HDMI cable (dongle required). The Nook HD can output 720p and the Nook HD+ can output 1080p.
The new tablets also have support for Ultraviolet, for what’s that is worth. Got a Blu-Ray that came with an Ultraviolet code? You can download a version of that movie into your Nook Video account just by typing the code into the new tablet. On the other hand, I’ve heard this system has a lot of issues so I don’t know what it will really be worth.
In any case, that’s not the fun stuff.
The feature that really impressed me was the new multi-user accounts setup. While the new Kindle Fire has ways for parents to lockdown the device before handing it to a kid, Barnes & Noble’s new tablets have a full blown account management system. You can have up to 6 accounts on a tablet, and each account can have full or partial access to the various parts of the Nook Store.
A parent could restrict their kid from accessing the web, app store, adult books, and so on. They can also buy content and assign it to one of the other accounts, and that is a feature that any parent who is concerned about inappropriate content will love. Each of the accounts will have a personalized home screen which only shows the content which user wants to access.
And assuming they did it right, bookmarks and highlights aren’t shared across accounts (unless desired). That would be another cool feature.
There are a handful of iOS and Android apps which can offer a similar feature, but I think B&N might be the first to build it into the core system of the tablet. Add in the existing read to me feature, which lets a parent record an audio narration for an ebook, and B&N has in effect made the first family media tablet.
That alone is an excellent reason to get it.
And BTW, this MyNook feature might already be live now in some form; the spec sheet calls it MyNook, and B&N launched something which had that same name last November. I thought at the time that it was a social network, but it looks like it was the website end of this new feature on the new Nook tablets.
Just in case it is related, you can check it out MyNook here.
B&N’s also rolling out new content suggestion idea called Nook Channels. This is a hybrid suggestion method that is intended to connect readers with books that are actually similar, not just suggested by some sales algorithm. There will be 100 channels at launch, and they will be assembled using the input of real people before the lists are handed over to the algorithms. And even then, there will still be people involved.
I’m not one to buy stuff from catalogs but even I can see that B&N has gotten a step up on Amazon here. The new Nooks are going to be able to display catalogs from major retailers. I missed the names, but I figure that once they hear about this pretty much everyone will want to be on board.
The catalogs will look like the paper editions, but they will also be clickable. you can browse, select an item you like, and then go to the retailers website to buy it. You can also clip a page from a catalog and save it in your scrapbook.
B&N has also updated the web browser with a better article view. That’s good because they won’t let you install any others.
The new tablets don’t do what I want, but that’s mainly because I am someone who refuses to share his toys. If I had kids (and were forced to share), these tablets would definitely tempt me. Assuming the details on the multi-user account system pans out, this would be the tablet for sharing with the rugrats.