Barnes & Noble debuts Nook HD, plans to port e-reading and display technology to Microsoft's new operating system.
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Microsoft's partnership with Barnes & Noble is starting to bear fruit, as the bookseller's CEO said the company plans to port some of the e-reader technology used in the new Nook HD and HD+ tablets to Windows 8.
"The most visible thing [consumers] are going to see is a best in class reading application on Windows 8," William Lynch told ABC News. "Some of the things we are doing with our reading technology--the rendering of books, catalogs, magazines--we are going to bring that to Windows 8 form factors and the operating system," Lynch said.
Under a deal announced in April, Barnes & Noble will spin off its e-book and reader business into a new subsidiary, in which Microsoft has taken a 17.6% stake. In exchange, Microsoft pays Barnes & Noble $300 million and drops patent claims it had previously filed against the company.
The new, yet-to-be-named subsidiary (for now it's just called NewCo), must pay license fees to Microsoft for technologies covered by patents that were at issue in the lawsuit.
The deal also calls for Barnes & Noble to develop a Nook-branded e-reader app for use on Windows 8 PCs and tablets, including Microsoft's own Surface, which will debut on Oct. 26 along with Windows 8 systems from OEMs.
Lynch's comments came as Barnes & Noble introduced two new Android-based versions of Nook that it hopes will compete with Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD while providing budget tablet alternatives to the iPad.
The 7-inch Nook HD is priced at $199, and features a resolution of 1440 x 900, at 243 pixels per inch, which Barnes & Noble said is the highest ever for a tablet of that size. The Nook HD also offers 720p HD video playback, and it checks in at just 11.1 ounces--20% lighter than the Kindle Fire HD. It's powered by a dual-core, 1.3-GHz processor.
The new Nook HD+, meanwhile, is priced at $269 and features a generous, nine-inch screen. Resolution is 1920 x 1280 at 256 ppi. It's capable of full HD video playback at 1080p.
"This amazing display rivals the 'resolutionary' screen of the leading high-resolution, large-format tablet, but is offered in a device that's more than 20% less weight and nearly half the price," said Barnes & Noble, in a thinly veiled jab at Apple and the latest iPad. The Nook HD+ also packs a 1.5-GHz, dual-core chip and 1 GB of RAM.
Barnes & Noble said it expects both devices to hit stores in early November.
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