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[Exclusive] Barnes and Noble to unveil new Nook in late September

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Weeks ago, Barnes & Noble slashed the prices of its Nook tablets in response to the 7-inch tablet competition post-Galaxy Nexus 7’s arrival. But this strategy was not only rooted in fears over Amazon’s to-be-announced Fire tablets and Galaxy Nexus 7 — Digital Trends has learned that Barnes & Noble will be announcing a new Nook tablet in a press conference that will take place in late September.

The price cut is a first indication that the company was preparing for a new product launch; three weeks ago, Barnes & Noble dropped the Nook by $20 for its 8GB tablet and $50 for 16GB tablets.

Our sources at Barnes & Noble, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed to Digital Trends that a new Nook will be announced in late September and had the utmost confidence that a press conference will be held in the Union Square flagship location in New York City — the same space previous press events have previously been held. The specific details surrounding the tablet’s specs and a solid date for the announcement is still shrouded in secrecy.

The Nook Color was Barnes & Noble’s answer to the 7-inch tablet, but the device never quite left its roots as an e-reader. According to our source, who had discussed the to-be-announced Nook with a Microsoft employee close to the matter, that may change. The existing Nook tablet’s selling point has been the ease of its use as an e-reader, but the new Nook may have a renewed focus on tablet features. If that’s the case, Barnes & Noble clearly has its sights set on competing more aggressively with the Amazon Fire, Google’s Galaxy Nexus 7 and the to-be-released iPad mini.

Based on the history of previous Barnes & Noble tablet releases, we would make an educated guess that the new Nook will be available sometime during the two months before holiday season kicks off. If the device were to hit store shelves in October, the date could coincide with the impending iPad mini announcement — also purported to take place in October. Of course, this means the hype behind the Nook would get drowned out.

With Microsoft’s $605 million investment in Barnes & Noble in exchange for a 17.6 percent stake in a subsidiary, the question that looms is whether the new tablet would scrap the Android OS and run Windows 8. From what we’ve heard, we’re more inclined to believe that the unannounced Nook will run on Windows 8, as many have already speculated. Nothing is for certain until we get that press release, so stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted on the development.

We reached out to Barnes & Noble but its spokesperson declined to comment.

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