My guess is that it is true; probably either the e-ink or the lcd products will stop being developed. I hope the e-ink line is the one that survives. There is less competition in the space and I think overall they are less costly to support and less disappointing to buyers.
I have no doubt it is true though it p!$$+$ me off. Not because I'm a diehard BN fan (though at one time I was), but that BN dug this grave themselves by distancing themselves from their customers and the needs of those customers.The Nook family of devices are stellar in hardware...but other devices in the same price range are catching up there and offer more. Lack of communication, lack of attention to customers,the alienation of many of those customers, a general conceit that BN knows better and as the article states...lack of an adequate business model.
Even without the lack of content, there are other important considerations.
In an era of exploding availability and portability of technology, the need for customer service is becoming more important that ever. The customer base for that technology is no longer confined to tech geeks and nerds, but to many people who have no previous experience with technology other than the most basic needs to get around on their internet, turn on the tv and play xbox. They have limited financial means to play around with so they choose devices that meet their needs and provide them with the support and knowledge to learn how to use those devices (which is an area in which we all know BN severally lacks).
They are NOT geeks and nerds so they need software that doesn't frustrate them and force them to take time away from their lives to learn how to "fix" or "work around". I'm NOT saying they are idiots at all. They are people with families, jobs, busy lives and simply don't have the time or energy to devote to dealing with tech problems. They need their devices to work as advertised with a minimum of fuss. (BN: fail)
They like the idea of a small portable computer with a decent size screen that can travel with them. For most people, their computers are not used as computing machines, but for email, internet, facebook, banking, shopping and entertainment, needs that are now being met on their smart phones though the screen size is inadequate. Tablets have a place in their lives IF the tablet can meet their needs, both in content AND financially. (BN: Fail on both if needs aren't met).
In a world where their choices are multiplying, people place other needs and desires in there as well. Does the seller appreciate that they spent their hard earned money there? Does the seller listen to their needs or consistantly offer choices that have nothing in common with the needs expressed? Does the seller communicate adequately about problems and solutions? Does the seller tell you how to USE their products? Well? Does the seller RESPOND to their evolving needs and requests? Does the customer feel as if any of these are happening or is the seller just assuming that if they give the proper response at some point, the customer will be content (if they are still a customer at that point)? (Fail, Fail, Fail)
Just MHO as someone who raised 3 kids in an financially stressed environment and had to watch every penny and spend it wisely. I'm "grown" now with grandchildren so I can afford an occasional mistake...but back then...nope.
I love my Nooks and I like backing the underdog. It sucks if this happens. Just this article may get me to start buying kindle books.
Likely it is true. If you are not Apple, it is hard to make money on hardware (see Dell, HP). Margins (non-Apple) are thin and you have to have volume and follow on sales to make it work. BN has just been too slow at developing its ecosystem (apps, media, etc.) and where they were the leaders in the small table space, they are now behind. The total value proposition for a Nook just isn't there compared to the Amazon ecosytem or the more open Android world. And they are not first choice partners for developers of Apps or vendors of media.
It isn't just BN. There is a similar concern that Apple needs a "next big thing" to justify its stock price. Obviously, Apple is much better situated to ride it out and put $ into R&D than BN is.
But BN never understood, you can't make money by copying a competitor's model (Apple- closed ecosytem) unless you can do it better. And they didn't do it better.
n-d-n writes: "you can't make money by copying a competitor's model (Apple- closed ecosytem) unless you can do it better. And they didn't do it better."
Two points: ecosystem and closed
BN didn't (for those who color within the lines) do the ecosystem better, or even fully commit to trying, at least from this side of the counter. They had a real opportunity which they blew by making development invitation only.
They also didn't do closed better, or even understand what it meant. This benefitted them with the Nook Color which they not only didn't try to close, but didn't understand they could close, any more than they understood that the Nook Color had Bluetooth.
Once they tried to close, they executed badly, twice. First the NT was released as a more open device (in casual use) than the NC was, and within weeks was made a much more closed device.
Devs have kept working on it but BN alienated both independent developers and their own customers.
The HD and HD+ are much more open, and for that matter the development process is now clearly much more open.
If that had been true throughout, BN could still be competitive with Amazon in apps and books, although not in music or film.
Would that have been enough? A coworker and Amazon customer saw my HD+ and decided she wanted a tablet. She picked up a Kindle Fire (not sure what screen size) but is returning it in favor of a Nexus 7 on very much the grounds that many here are unhappy with their devices: closed ecosystem, all pointed to purchasing from Amazon. (She has one of the Samsung 5" media players as well, so she's been spoiled by having access to the full Android experience - as do many who carry smartphones...)
As I said, I hope the e-ink products survive. And if BN does stop developing the LCD product line, I hope that as a farewell gesture they push an OTA that enables installing apps from outside of their store for all of their customers.
My guess is that it is true; probably either the e-ink or the lcd products will stop being developed.
Of course, B&N has denied the interpretation that it is going to abandon the Nook. This is more in line with the more recent news that the current chairman of B&N, and founder of the chain that originally bought the B&N name, is considering buying out the retail division.
It makes all the sense in the world to scale back development of the Nook HD and HD+, since its solved all of the most critical hardware shortcomings of the Nook Tablet, and if the purpose is to sell books and other media, keeping it stable through the next Christmas season and pushing down the price point while getting the Nook app and Nook video app pre-installed on more hardware out of the box ~ including strengthening the appeal of those apps.
And wih the specialization of the eInk readers for ebooks alone and decline in importance of the eInk readers in the ebook side, if they have a good piece of kit coming out as the Nook Touch 2, it would be irresponsible to not at least evaluate whether it makes sense to scale back hardware development of that as well.
Given that specialization of eInk readers and generality of the media tablets, its easy to see the next Nook media tablet to be a case of inviting various tablet manufacturers to put forward designs that meet target criteria, and then pick the best value proposition among those for the next Nook, while developing another generation or two of eInk reader.
When I wrote the post, I was distinguishing between 'developed' and 'sold' - agreed, the sunk costs for the HD and HD+ and NST/NSTG are there; it makes sense to keep selling the devices.
However, the article and Riggio's announcement, are likely going to drive Nook hardware sales through the floor.
And it is weird to me that Riggio's not trying to take the college bookstores along with 'retail,' since my impression is that sales of textbooks is a great racket to be in. It certainly was when my granddad did it for a living until his early retirement.
I rarely get it right when I play the "guess what B&N will do next" game. But if I were running the show, I'd: 1) Devote time to eink readers and dominating that base. 2) Ditch the B&N marketplace (or whatever it's called) for apps and videos. Push an update that lets the existing tablets use Google Play or whatever users want. 3) Focus on being the choice reader app on tablets, especially Android based, but not neglecting other OS. This would include a form of Nook Study for Tablets. Not holding my breath.
Everyone's mentioning the eInk technology. Wasn't there a recent WSJ article about how sales of all eInk devices are poor and may in-fact go away for the most part?