Samsung, Barnes & Noble team up on tablet design

sam nookBarnes & Noble, the bookseller that has struggled to establish itself in the tablet market, is calling on Samsung for some help.

The companies announced Thursday that they will launch co-branded tablets with a mouthful of a name: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. The devices will feature Samsung’s hardware and customized Nook software from Barnes & Noble. The first Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, sporting a 7-inch display, will hit US store shelves in August.

The decision to partner with Samsung might be a good one for Barnes & Noble and its Nook Media subsidiary. The company’s Nook business has fallen off a cliff: its last-reported quarter, ended January 25, showed a 50.4 percent decline in sales, and shareholders have been calling on the company to make drastic changes or shutter the operation altogether. Samsung, meanwhile, has found some success in the tablet market and is one of the leaders in Android-based tablets.

The partnership effectively ends Barnes & Noble’s foray into hardware design. The company said Thursday that while it’ll still offer its Nook GlowLight — a backlit e-ink e-reader — it will now only support the Nook slates it’s launched to this point. Leaving the hardware design to Samsung allows Barnes & Noble to focus on its own software and Nook content sales.  More