Barnes & Noble Nook, Lenovo ThinkPad prepare second volley of iPad alternatives

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
After the much anticipated Motorola Xoom and RIM PlayBook failed to live up to expectations, two new Android-based tablets have promised to keep alive alternatives to Apple's iPad: The Barnes & Noble Nook Color and a prototype ThinkPad tablet from Lenovo.



Nook Color takes aim at the low end with $249 device



The B&N Nook Color is not new, but the dedicated ebook reader is getting a software update that will expand its capabilities from just reading books to potentially running a variety of specialized apps, including email, a web browser incorporating supper for Adobe Flash, and games including Angry Birds and Chess.



The software update is based on Android 2.2 Froyo, which was released last summer and was used by the similarly sized Samsung Galaxy Tab. Unlike other tablet devices, the Nook is available for just $250, making it among the least expensive tablet-sized devices, and about half the price of iPad 2.



The Nook is powered by a 1GHz CPU, has 8GB of storage, lacks 3G and uses a 7 inch screen, allowing it to hit a price target much lower than other tablet offerings. It won't, however, upgrade to Android 3.0, the version Google developed specifically for tablets. And unlike the Galaxy Tab, it won't run most standard Android smartphone apps. Instead, it will require specially modified apps that will be available in a curated market run by B&N.



Nook users previously had to crack the device to run Android apps, as B&N originally slated the product to work only as a book reader and resisted attempts by users to adapt it as a general purpose tablet. With few other competitors successfully targeting the lower end target market, and Nook facing entrenched competition as an ereader from Amazon's Kindle, B&N likely hopes to position the Nook to take over the entry level tablet market for users with limited needs.



In that role, the Nook may find new competition from Amazon, which has been rumored to be working on similarly expanding the capabilities of its Kindle product line to include third party apps and a color screen.







Lenovo aims at high end with $499 ThinkPad tablet



Lenovo, meanwhile, had put together plans leaked by ThisIsMyNext, which describe an Android 3.0 tablet with specs similar to the Xoom: a Tegra 2 CPU, 16, 32 or 64 GB of storage, a 10.1 inch 1280x800 wide screen display, and both 3G and 4G wireless options. The tablet will also include a stylus.



While the document obtained by the site is marked as being "confidential copyright 2009," the report notes that this must be an error because Android 3.0 was not announced until last year. "Our source tells us that Lenovo?s been spending lots of time getting the software just right and that these slides are a few months old," the report stated, "which means the interface may change by the time it hits the market."







Distinguishing Lenovo's tablet from Motorola's ill fated Xoom is the fact that the company produces popular laptops already, and has built a growing share of the PC market worldwide.



Like Motorola's Atrix smartphone, the tablet is designed to fit into a notebook-like keyboard tray that would appear to convert it into a notebook form factor, albeit still running the touch-centric Android. There is no detail on how much Lenovo's keyboard folio costs, but Motorola's was a pricey $500 option.



Lenovo's internal documents cite relationships with enterprise customers and technology partners, experience in developing IT software tools, its reputation for reliable corporate IT hardware, and commitment to the Android platform as advantages for the company entering the tablet market.



Advantages of using Google's Android are described as levering its great user experience, large ecosystem and app store, trusted cloud computing platform, and reputation for innovation and quality.





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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,511member
    Try as they may, they don't seem to get why the iPad was such a hit with the masses and why the android alternatives were flops on the biblical level.



    Folks are tired of the PC-paradigm where one needs a computer science degree to operate a computer or be afflicted with OCD / ADHD in desiring the micromanaging mess that is Android.



    Apple has the apps, the ecosystem, the walled-garden that takes the guesswork of malware and viruses out of the equation.



    Fandroids will kick-and-scream about Android being "open", but I will gladly take the manicured gardens of iOS' AppStore over the cesspool sewage plant that is Android's Marketplace.



    I have better things to do with my time than to micromanage my phone and tablet.
  • Reply 2 of 46
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    This is my next ... Ugly busness tablet. Who is going to buy this outside being forced by corporate IT. In fact even IT will not buy something this ugly when they have options like xoom that run the same OS with the same apps.



    In fact, why not go with the iPad for lower price, good design, productivity apps, exchange integration, remote wipe, ability to control what is installed (from the business standpoint) etc.
  • Reply 3 of 46
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Apple has the apps, the ecosystem, the walled-garden that takes the guesswork of malware and viruses out of the equation.



    Malware and viruses aren't an issue, and as you can see even Apple has issues when it creates location-tracking logs, so there's not really a security difference between the two platforms.



    Regarding the 'ecosystem' and 'walled-garden'......that's exactly why we need options. Not everyone likes to be constrained. Personally, I'm more likely to buy an iPad (don't have one yet, but got one for my parents, who love it), but have respect for those who want something outside the mainstream. Isn't that what Apple was all about, once upon a time?
  • Reply 4 of 46
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    Malware and viruses aren't an issue, and as you can see even Apple has issues when it creates location-tracking logs, so there's not really a security difference between the two platforms.



    Regarding the 'ecosystem' and 'walled-garden'......that's exactly why we need options. Not everyone likes to be constrained. Personally, I'm more likely to buy an iPad (don't have one yet, but got one for my parents, who love it), but have respect for those who want something outside the mainstream. Isn't that what Apple was all about, once upon a time?



    The "location tracking logs" issue is a non-issue. It's fluff filling the news cycle.
  • Reply 5 of 46
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    a web browser incorporating supper for Adobe Flash



    Adobe Flash -- it's what's for dinner.
  • Reply 6 of 46
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    The "location tracking logs" issue is a non-issue. It's fluff filling the news cycle.



    To you, O.K.
  • Reply 7 of 46
    I am amazed at how good the vaporware products are ... they are so highly hyped ... yet I don't see any lines forming. It is reported over 80% of the top 500 companies are testing iPads for enterprise level usage.

    Special apps for B&N's Nook ... (pause) just report when they are out and so-called working.

    A hospitial in Ottawa has 500 iPads and is planning on 1800 more to streamline operations, eliminate errors and help workers provide improved patient care. Watch the gaming community of everyday folk going after the new gaming apps designed for the top graphics performance of the new iPad2. There seems to be Tablets by iPad and then all the rest of the marketplace which seems to be limping rather badly... sure they will sell a few, cusomtize them, hack them, Jail break them ... while the rest of us will just use our iPads... somewhere around 30 million folk or so and growing rapidly are happy campers. Apple's biggest problem ... they can't make and distribute them fast enough to satisfy continuing demands.
  • Reply 8 of 46
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,511member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    The "location tracking logs" issue is a non-issue. It's fluff filling the news cycle.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    To you, O.K.



    No... to most... it's a non issue.



    To you, like others that harped on the "issue" of Antennagate when there really wasn't one, it is the end-of-the-world and proof of the "OMG Apple is Evil" mentality.



    It's a non-issue. Stop spinning the story into something it isn't. I recommend you switch foil brands and make a more effective tin-foil hat.
  • Reply 9 of 46
    ezduzitezduzit Posts: 158member
    b & n has delusions of grandeur. launching a new (revised) product against a foe who seems unbeatable, while you are slowly going bankrupt, is the height of folly.
  • Reply 10 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,826member
    It's possible they've sold more than 3 million Nook's, so not a failure by any stretch of the imaginatio.n



    At the same time it should never be confused with a full-fledged tablet. It is not.
  • Reply 11 of 46
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    Malware and viruses aren't an issue, and as you can see even Apple has issues when it creates location-tracking logs, so there's not really a security difference between the two platforms.



    Absolute gibberish. A (rough) location log that remains resident on the phone and can only be accessed by someone with physical possession of the phone and password is no different from malware or viruses that by definition work remotely and are designed to modify the normal operation of your phone towards illicit ends? So you would be equally dismayed to know there is database of locations on your phone and to discover that your bank information had been stolen?



    Let me guess: "Location tracking logs" is going to become the go-to shorthand for lazy Apple bashing, supplanting "don't hold it that way" for people who can't be bothered to think about the relative merits of competing platforms and prefer their snark ready made.



    Quote:

    Regarding the 'ecosystem' and 'walled-garden'......that's exactly why we need options. Not everyone likes to be constrained. Personally, I'm more likely to buy an iPad (don't have one yet, but got one for my parents, who love it), but have respect for those who want something outside the mainstream. Isn't that what Apple was all about, once upon a time?



    If by "outside the mainstream" you mean Android, last time I checked that was the mainstream. You can't have it bother ways, and fault Apple for being excessively successful while using that as a rational for choosing an even more successful alternative.



    And Apple has never been about some spurious notion of iconoclasm, so they haven't betrayed any values. as you seem to imply, by having some success with their current mobile devices. Their current mobile devices are built according to the same philosophies that have always driven Apple, it just happens that they're doing better in a market that isn't choked by Windows.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    What exactly is a "curated" market? Is it anything like the several news aggregators like Flipboard that "curate" the news? Or like Horace Didieu's "curated market intelligence" blog Asymco? It seems like every writer has this overpowering almost primal urge to insert the word "curate" into whatever he/she is writing about. Whatever happened to good old "edited" or "vetted" or "approved"? The apps in Apple's App Store are approved. So what makes them "curated?" The news entries in Flipboard are edited; so what's been done to give them the all-holy designation of "curated?" Does my local Safeway "curate" the farm produce that comes in? No, the produce managers inspect it to be sure it's up to Safeway's standards (okay, no snippy comments about how good or poor Safeway's standards are!).



    [/rant]
  • Reply 13 of 46
    The much vaunted coming of age update for the NookColor can't even supply landscape reading for books, which is, ostensibly, the reason why it exists.



    Now, neither could the original Kindle, but that was some time ago.



    This is *hardly* a second volley.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    1) Not mentioned in the article, the Lenovo ThinkPad tablet will have an IPS panel. Asus also uses IPS panels and starts in under $499 for a 16GB model. This is good news all around for customers.



    2) I think that Nook is a mess but I think it’s a sign of the direction that Amazon will go with the Kindle in the future, though with a much more compelling device from the HW to the UI to the ecosystem.
  • Reply 15 of 46
    majjomajjo Posts: 574member
    Looks like the main thing that differentiates the Thinkpad tablet to the recently released Asus transformer is the stylus. This is tempting, though I'll wait to see how well the stylus works and how lenovo manages the OS first.
  • Reply 16 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,826member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    1) Not mentioned in the article, the Lenovo ThinkPad tablet will have an IPS panel. Asus also uses IPS panels and starts in under $499 for a 16GB model. This is good news all around for customers.



    2) I think that Nook is a mess but I think it’s a sign of the direction that Amazon will go with the Kindle in the future, though with a much more compelling device from the HW to the UI to the ecosystem.



    Solipcism, the Nook is far from a mess if used for it's intended purpose IMHO. It's a reader, and a very good one from comments my wife's clients make and her own use when she's there. I'll probably tell my wife to go ahead with one if she still wants it. Some buyers have insisted on extending it's use by loading newer firmware, so I guess B&N thinks there's a good percentage of potential buyers that want more than a reader, but still inexpensive.



    I actually think they're smart to keep the Android Market off-limits, at least officially. There's apps there that won't be a good match for the entry-level Nook hardware. Using apps they've tested and approved, offered in their own "walled garden" will be a much nicer experience than opening up to the whole Android thing.



    @Majjo. The ASUS Transformer is $399, so $100 less than Lenovo's tablet. Of course Lenovo may offer a better build or hardware, but who knows yet.
  • Reply 17 of 46
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Elian Gonzalez View Post


    The much vaunted coming of age update for the NookColor can't even supply landscape reading for books, which is, ostensibly, the reason why it exists.



    Now, neither could the original Kindle, but that was some time ago.



    This is *hardly* a second volley.



    A few atlases and things are printed in landscape mode. But 99.9% of reading is done in the normal aspect ratio of a piece of paper.



    Someone mentioned 'non-issues' above.......the ability to read in landscape is a non-issue....
  • Reply 18 of 46
    allblueallblue Posts: 393member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...a web browser incorporating supper for Adobe Flash,



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Adobe Flash -- it's what's for dinner.



    Stick a fork in it, it's done.
  • Reply 19 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Try as they may, they don't seem to get why the iPad was such a hit with the masses and why the android alternatives were flops on the biblical level.



    I have better things to do with my time than to micromanage my phone and tablet.



    At the biblical level? LOL



    Like you, I too have better things to do with my time...



    I have had an iPad 2 for nearly three weeks now and it's truly a joy to use.



    In earlier days I was quite the "collector" of software, having lots of floppies full of Apple // stuff that I never needed or used - I just enjoyed going to the computer store and buying Beagle Bros, Synergistic Software, the Visi- series and the pfs: series, plus all the great stuff from Roberta and Ken Williams at Sierra Online. [Thanks go to Dick A. and Mark W. for their well-stocked neighborhood computer store that liberated many hundreds of $$$ from my bank account...]



    But now that life's a little shorter, I'm getting more enjoyment out of using just a few programs on the Mac, and even fewer on the iPad. I haven't bought more than a dozen apps from the store - just a few to complement my Mac versions (Pages, Devonthink, Bento).



    However, my butt is happier now that it doesn't have to spend hours on an office chair in front of the Mac as I can now go outside, or sit on the couch, or at the breakfast bar reading news, blogs, emails, etc. If the creative urge appears, I know I can use it for things beyond consumption.



    Sorry for the long digression: My point is, I can simply use my iPad. I don't have to set up anything, I don't have to worry about malware or viruses, it just works and that's what I want. I'm tired of hacking and modifying my hardware and software; now is the time to sit back and enjoy other aspects of retired life.



    I can't imagine using any wannabe device at this point in time.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    sipsip Posts: 210member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    A few atlases and things are printed in landscape mode. But 99.9% of reading is done in the normal aspect ratio of a piece of paper.



    Someone mentioned 'non-issues' above.......the ability to read in landscape is a non-issue....



    But 99.9% of reading is done in the normal aspect ratio of a book. Which is portrait mode only whilst it is closed. Which becomes landscape when it is opened. Where the words are printed on both sides of the paper. Just like in Apple's iBooks in landscape mode, which is how I read all my ePUBS (and a nice free app called Cloudreaders which also happens to do right-to-left/left-to-right page turns -- disclaimer: I am not the author of Cloudreaders).
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