COMMENTARY | Microsoft announced today it would invest $300 million into a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary, which would combine its e-book and college businesses and sell digital textbooks to students. The focus of Microsoft's press release was Barnes & Noble's Nook Study software, an e-reader app and bookstore designed just for textbooks, which would receive a Windows 8 version designed for Microsoft's upcoming iPad-style tablets.
Barnes & Noble is already in the tablet business, with its popular Nook Color and Nook Tablet gadgets. When asked whether or not there would be a Nook-branded Windows 8 tablet, unnamed "executives" declined to comment, according to Phil Wahba and Bill Rigby's Reuters article. That can't be taken as evidence one way or the other, but if such a tablet were ever made, here's what it would probably look like.
A completely new user interface
Whether it looks any different from other Windows 8 tablets or not, a Nook Windows tablet's UI would look very different from today's Windows 7 PCs. That's because Microsoft is basically redesigning Windows from the ground up for Windows 8, with a "Metro" home screen that looks more like the company's Windows Phone OS than a traditional PC desktop.
Built-in Nook software
What sets today's Nook Color and Nook Tablet apart from normal Android tablets (aside from their small size and low price tag) is that instead of having a Nook app that you get from the Google Play store, they have a Nook store where you get ebooks and apps. They can also read certain Nook books that can't be read in the Android app, like animated children's books.
10-inch screen size
Barnes & Noble's Nook Study software only works on Windows PCs and Macs right now; most textbooks aren't available for purchase on the Nook Color and Nook Tablet. One reason might be their 7-inch screen size, which isn't conducive to reading full-sized college textbooks. But with those textbooks being the main reason for Microsoft's Barnes & Noble investment -- and with the smallest "common" screen size listed on Microsoft's website for a Windows 8 tablet being 10.1 inches across -- it may be unlikely that we'd see a significantly smaller Nook tablet.
The BlueStacks app player software, now in beta, allows Windows PC users to run Android apps on their Windows desktops. So whether or not the existing Nook apps would be ported to Windows PCs, it's possible that you'd be able to get your Angry Birds fix anyway.
- Technology & Electronics