Over the weekend it was reported that Barnes and Noble, the nation’s leading brick and mortar book retailer, had cut the prices on it’s entire Nook line of tablets. With the 16GB Nook Tablet, dropping a full $50 down to $199, the 8GB Nook Tablet coming in at $179, and finally, the older Nook Color is now only $150.
Barnes and Noble are definitely feeling the heat and pressure from competitors. While the Nook’s main competitor use to be the Kindle and Kindle Fire from Amazon, with the emergence of the Nexus 7 tablet, which features better specs in every category and starting price of only $199, Google has now become a threat as well. B&N obviously cannot continue to sell a tablet that is almost a year old for more money. Then there’s also the pressing rumor of a smaller iPad, which would throw a monkey wrench into the 7-inch+ tablet category, stealing all the thunder.
While it’s clear that B&N had to lower their prices to stay competitive, there may also be another reason, a new Nook. We know the current Nook Tablet is just shy of a year old and with pressure of a smaller iPad, Google’s Nexus 7, and a new Kindle Fire (rumored for a fall release), B&N can’t just sit back and be complacent, so we should expect a new Nook to arrive within the next few months. But here’s the kicker, will the new Nook continue to use Android as its OS? Quite possibly no, we already know that B&N and Microsoft settled their patent dispute and formed a new company together, Newco, which will continue to release new e-readers and tablets. It’s entirely possibly that the newest member of the Nook family will come running Windows 8 RT, with the Nook e-Reader app or functionality built-in. A 7-inch Windows 8 RT e-reader could definitely shake up the category and give B&N (Newco) an compelling difference between the mess of other Android e-readers.
Will it happen, we don’t know for sure, but I have a hard time believing that Microsoft would be a majority partner in a company that uses a competing OS, no matter how much money they make in Android royalties.