Barnes & Noble's releasing a $50 Android tablet that does all the things Amazon won't let Kindles do


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/16/barnes-nobles-releasing-a.html


#2

I can only speak anecdotally, but a lot of $50 Kindle Fires are bought for children. My 5-year-old loves using his kindle to play games, watch netflix and movies we’ve bought through amazon, and as he gets older, he’ll probably read a ton of books on it.

And the Kindle’s parental controls are absolutely fantastic. Easy to set daily time limits, different limits for weekdays and weekends, there’s even a setting to require X minutes of book reading before watching videos or playing games.

Yeah it’s a lot more closed off than vanilla Android, as a parent that’s kind of the point.


#3

Y’know…I’m not so sure about that. I had a Kindle for a long time - two, actually - and when I trod on the last one and cracked its screen, I didn’t replace it because I also had an iPad w/ the Kindle app and iBooks. Since then, my reading has gone waaayyyy down. I think it’s a combination of the subtle change to a device that’s heavier, larger, and harder on the reading eye, and - probably more importantly - the fact that the device does other things besides display books. I’m looking to go back to a single-use device at some point soon.


#4

Opposite for me. I use a smart device way more than a uni-tasking e-reader because it does decent Text to Speech and I can continue “reading” while I’m doing other tasks. (The TTS is pretty good, but it does take getting used to and a tolerance for incorrectly pronounced heteronyms and abbreviations.)

One of the key things for me is whether this tablet comes with the latest Android, which is vital for security since the tablet may never get updated after purchase. Another key is whether the device allows for Android 6’s “adoptable storage” which allows micro SD cards to be used more like internal memory - that’s a key feature for a device that comes with a nearly unusable 8 gigs of storage, much of which will be taken by the OS and base applications.


#5

This is neat as my Nook HD had an unhappy meeting with my water bottle and I am pretty sure it is just the battery but $50 and bog standard android vs. $25 and wrangling out and replacing the battery makes this quite tempting. I read a lot on that thing and most of my game play was just sudoku.


#6

Heh, right now my Kindle Fire’s primary task is as a large red-on-black digital clock, since I can’t use it with all the google services I typically like to use. There isn’t even the standard youtube app available.

I shafted myself for not actually checking to see if there was a good way to root it before buying.


#7

I do miss it when I have the the odd bout of insomnia. I could have it set to white text with a dark screen an minimum brightness and read for 20 minutes or so before being okay time for sleep again vs. hardcopy with the light on where I would stay up till I finished the book.


#8

My wife paid $29 for a Kindle Fire on Prime day, I assume the Black Friday price will be the same, If the Nook stays at $50 then it is not competitive.

The older Nook tablets didn’t have a camera, which I interpreted as a feature (bought one as a gift some years back for a family member), but the newer ones do.

You can sideload a lot of unapproved apps.


#9

I’ve been trying, but a lot of official google apps fail. For instance the Play Store apk installs, but fails to load, so I installed all the google services apks etc, and they still fail. I can’t get the official Youtube to work. I’ve been having a hard time getting a lot of other things to work on the Fire HD tablet. So at this point, I’m throwing my hands up in the air and letting it be an e-reader and a clock.


#10

Youtube runs fine on my wife’s kindle, as do several sideloads. We haven’t rooted, but there are lots of websites with easy rooting packages specifically for the Fire HD, you might give it another shot.


#11

I’ll take a look at it. I got the latest one and at the time a couple of months ago there was just nothing around that reliably rooted my model without some awful side-effects.


#12

If I can view .cbr files on it then yes, I’ll probably buy one. Don’t know if that will save the brand or not.


#13

Forgive my ignorance, but can I use a tablet as an ereader?

My ereader died a couple of months ago and, being on a minimal income, its tough to find another that fits my very tight budget. So at fifty bucks, if I can use a tablet like an ereader, then why not?


#14

Sure can. There’s the Kindle app which works nicely or pick from plenty of others. The text isn’t as clean and the battery life’s a lot less than e-ink, but it’s more than good enough. And tablets are way better at pdfs.


#15

Moon+ is a good ereader app.


#16

Thanks!


#17

As a proud owner of a Nook Simple Touch e-ink reader, rooted to gain access to the underlying Android and to allow me to install a custom, e-ink-friendly shell and CoolReader (which supports way more formats than stock B&N reader app), I would definitely consider this offer.


#18

You really want e-ink if you are going to spend significant time reading.


#19

You’re right; the difference in eye strain levels was surprising for me.


#20