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The popularity of Google's Android may ensure that Google will play a prominent role in the smartphone market for years to come, but its future in the tablet space is anything but guaranteed.
Apple's iPad is the tablet standard, and lower-end competitors like the Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet use forked versions of Android that Google can't control or monetize. For a variety of reasons, Google hasn't thus far been able to rely on third party manufacturers to build a killer Android tablet.
And it's unlikely to get easier for the search giant any time soon.
Following Microsoft’s acquisitions and “partnership,” palm greasing is getting more exciting by the hour.
The headlines have been coming fast since the end of Q3 11: $8.5b Skype acquisition. $250m quarterly infusion to Nokia. $24m in subsidies for Windows Mobile app developers. $1b Aol patent grab – now flipped to Facebook for $500m. Vague, behind the scenes dealing with Comcast. And now this: a $300m investment in Barnes & Nobles’ Nook division.
Something is up.
Thanks to Amazon's dominance, it's easy to forget that traditional bookseller Barnes & Noble (B&N) has managed to build a decent digital portfolio of its own.
In the past, that has sparked speculation that B&N would eventually spin off its NOOK division, freeing its digital business from the baggage of its brick-and-mortar business.
With the iPad, Apple is the dominant tablet manufacturer and with the Kindle Fire, Amazon has become the company to watch in the tablet space.
But don't write bookseller Barnes & Noble (B&N) off. Its NOOK business, which started with E Ink e-readers, now has two tablets in its stable, the NOOK Color and the NOOK Tablet.
In the battle for the future of the tablet market, Amazon - with the Kindle Fire, may be a top contender for the lead row. But another retailer, Barnes & Noble (B&N), isn't ceding anything to its etail rival.
Yesterday, it announced that customers who pony up $120 for a one-year subscription to the digital version of PEOPLE Magazine will receive a $50 discount on the NOOK Tablet, bringing its price down to that of the Kindle Fire ($199). Customers who purchase a $240 annual subscription to the New York Times (NYT) can have a NOOK Simple Touch for free, or a NOOK Color tablet for $99.
The International Consumer Electronics Show, or CES as it's widely referred to as, begins tomorrow.
While it may be losing its "clout", it's still one of the biggest venues for companies to launch their new products at - and CES 2012 will be no different.
If you've been reading the headlines about the Kindle Fire lately, you might be surprised to learn that Amazon has already moved millions of units of its tablet and is now the proud creator of the best-selling Android tablet.
Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen isn't a fan, and went so far as to say that he felt, "the Fire is going to be a failure."
Barnes & Noble has high hopes for its new e-book reader, the NOOK Color. Described by some as half e-reader, half-tablet, the $250 device, which runs on Google's Android operating system, has been sold an estimated 3m times since its debut last November.
Now, B&N is eager to develop a strong developer ecosystem. The retailer has launched a NOOK SDK 1.0 and a shiny new NOOK Developer website which invites developers to "change the future of reading" with B&N.
Competition is getting tough in the digital reader category. Tight margins and rapidly evolving devices are likely to thin the marketplace by next year. Currently, a price war is going on. Today, bookseller Borders lowered the price of its e-reader devices...again. Starting at $99, the Alarutek is the cheapest e-reader on the market.
Borders is trying to get back into the black with fewer stores and a focus on digital books. But can cheap prices and customer rewards save a business? That's not clear.