Kindle Rumors Imply Nook Smartphone
I truly enjoy trying to figure out where Barnes and Noble is heading next with the Nook. My track record at this has been spotty so far, but for some reason it's fun, and given how out of favor they are I don't really have a lot of competition. Which is a shame, because I'm learning a lot more about how to run a business from watching this company tack against the wind than I would simply tracking Apple or Amazon.
With that in mind... I am strongly beginning to think that the next Nook product will be... a Windows 8 smartphone. And we will see it this fall.
The tipoff, weirdly enough, is all the -Kindle- smartphone rumors I've seen popping up the last week. Let's look at some history:
1. In September 2010, strong rumors began circulating that Amazon was working on an android tablet. In October 2010, Barnes and Noble launched the nook color. The Kindle Fire showed up a year later.
2. Earlier this year, we saw rumors that Amazon was working on a frontlit Kindle. In April, Barnes and Noble launched the nook glowlight. Still waiting on the Kindle.
It's becoming a reliable pattern- Kindle rumors, nook reality. It makes sense when you consider that both of these rumors- and the new Kindle phone rumors- are about devices in the early stages of development.
Most tech "leaks" are actually planned by management. If a product is almost ready for launch, the motivation can be simply to drum up buzz and excitement for the launch. But revealing a product that is months away from market is a big risk- it really only makes sense if you are hoping to rain on a competitor's parade. Amazon starts the defensive rumor-mongering even before the competing product is revealed- they know what Barnes and Noble is working on because they regularly hire ex-nook engineers (and I know they do this because Linkedin is a thing now).
In this case, though, it's not just this pattern that makes me think the media is looking for the wrong reader-phone- it's also fairly logical.
Amazon could have made the Kindle a smartphone when they launched it with 3G in 2007, or when they opened their android market early last year, or concurrently with the launch Fire, but they chose not to do so at any of those times. Why enter that market now? The timing makes no sense.
Barnes and Noble/ Newco, on the other hand, has a painfully obvious catalyst to enter the smartphone market this year. They just agreed to either pay Microsoft patent loyalties on their android hardware products or take windows licenses. A Windows Phone license is cheaper than an RT or full Windows 8 license.
So that's my interpretation. But then, my guesses have been wrong before.