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

Chris Meadows writes, "Barnes & Noble is coming out with a $50 Nook Android tablet, with hardware specs similar to Amazon's $50 Fire. The kicker is, this new Nook tablet will run plain-vanilla Android 6.0 Marshmallow and include the full suite of Google Play apps--unlike the Fire, which only permits installation of those apps Amazon deems suitable. Will this be enough to rescue the ailing Nook brand?"

But when you get right down to it, this is effectively “just another cheap Chinese Android tablet.” You can find $50 Android tablets in any Fry’s or other big-box electronics retailer, after all. What makes this one a better deal? And why is it necessarily any better than the Fire, which at least has Amazon’s genius for consumer electronics behind it?

When you think about it, the answer could come down to two simple words: support and openness.

Unlike most Chinese tablets, made by no-name manufacturers and ordered from anonymous overseas retailers or faceless big-box stores that will take them back but not do much else for you, the Nook Tablet 7″ will be offered by Barnes & Noble–which should mean that every one of Barnes & Noble’s remaining stores should (at least theoretically) be able to provide service and help customers figure out how to use them. (Though, granted, B&N isn’t exactly known for stellar customer service in any case, nor has it managed the Nook brand especially well to date.) This is also an advantage over Amazon, which has considerably fewer physical locations to provide in-person support for its Fire.

And unlike the Fire, or Barnes & Noble’s former non-Samsung Nook tablets, this one runs standard, plain-vanilla Android, with Google’s own Play Store built right in.

Barnes & Noble $50 Nook Tablet 7″ will ship on Black Friday [Chris Meadows/Teleread]