Market Insight

Barnes & Noble launches the Galaxy Tab S2 NOOK – AMOLED for readers

October 26, 2015  | Subscribers Only

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Barnes & Noble (B&N), the largest retail bookseller in the United States, in collaboration with Samsung Electronics recently introduced the Galaxy Tab S2 NOOK. With this release, B&N becomes one of the few vendors offering a tablet with a Super AMOLED display. Additional specification details can be found on our analyst commentary “Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 - built with energy efficiency in mind"Note, the S2 NOOK is only available in the 8-inch size.

Incorporating the customized Android-NOOK interface and priced at $400, the Galaxy Tab S2 NOOK includes:

  • User’s choice of three free books from 20 selected titles
  • User’s choice of three free magazines from 25 selected publications
  • $5 credit for purchases on the Nook Store

Barnes & Noble members can purchase the S2 NOOK for a discount price of $360.

Our take

The launch of the S2 NOOK is somewhat reminiscent of B&N’s initial foray into the tablet market. While the firm now relies on Samsung for tablet design, the S2 NOOK is true to B&N’s roots, a premium model,  with all the trappings of a flagship product. With a high-performance, 2048 x 1563 AMOLED display, the unit sports a resolution nearly twice that of the prior 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 Nook product and significantly higher than most of the 8.x-inch competitors. The AMOLED screen also offers expanded color gamut, a plus when viewing video applications, and photographs.

At a time when retail competitors, including rival Amazon, are shifting focus to value priced products, this is a bold move on B&N’s part.  In addition to its AMOLED display, the S2 NOOK features a 4:3 aspect ratio display. The 4:3 format is a natural fit with the avid readers that comprise B&N’s customer base, both for ease of handling and its similarity to the physical form of a book. This is the standard format used in most eReaders, including B&N’s own NOOK GlowLight. The S2 Nook adds depth and a measure of differentiation to B&N’s tablet lineup and a price point right up there with the latest iPad Mini.

For more value centric customers, looking for a larger tablet and a lower price point, B&N recently announced the modestly priced Galaxy Tab E NOOK. On a bigger 9.6 inch screen, the E NOOK is priced at $249.99. The tablet comes with 16GB with an expandable microSD memory for content storage up to 128GB. From now to November 7, users can trade in or trade up selected NOOK, iPad, Kindle and Samsung devices and receive up to $200 to purchase the E NOOK. Similar to the S2 NOOK, the E NOOK also comes with three free books, three free magazines and a $5 Nook Store credit. 

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