Samsung and Barnes & Noble team on new Nook

It’s not exactly clear who is driving this boat but Samsung and Barnes & Noble have teamed up on a new Nook reading device that’s more like a tablet.

The new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is bigger, brighter and well, a bit more like a standard Android tablet than a dedicated book reading device – but hey, maybe it will help Barnes & Noble sell more eBooks.

The device shares most of the specs of the Galaxy Tab 4 with a decidedly Barnes & Noble Nook look to the interface. Starting with a price of $179 (shipping is free) the device is 7.36” x 4.25” x .35” and weighs just under 10 pounds. The screen offers 1280 x 800 resolution and the device boasts up to 10 hours of battery life. It comes in black or white.

It comes with 8GB of on-board memory that can be expanded up to 32GB with a microSD card. As you would expect, it comes with a Micro-USB 2.0 slot, a MicroSD slot and a 3.5 mm headset jack. It also has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n.

Things start to diverge from past versions of Nooks in that the Tab 4 Nook has both front- and rear-facing cameras and GPS. The Android OS also shows that Samsung isn’t putting all of its eggs in the Barnes & Noble basket and in fact the Tab 4 Nook comes with Google Play and access to Samsung’s apps.

Where it is sticking to the Nook roots is access to the Barnes & Noble library of over 3 million books, magazines and newspapers, movies and TV shows, Nook apps and interactive books for kids. The device will also offer reading suggestions based on what you browse for in the store (or even based on your GPS location).

Barnes & Noble is also offering $200 in free content, a month of free magazines and a $5 starting credit when you buy the device, (although it’s not clear if you get to pick exactly what is included in that $200 worth of free content).

It’s hard to say whether the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will have a substantial impact on Barnes & Noble sales of eBooks (or any other content for that matter) but in my eyes, anything that encourages people to read more is probably a good thing.

You can read more about the new Nook at the Barnes & Noble website here.